The Society for Jewish Art held its 29th annual Passover conference at the Israel Museum, on "Ayin l'Zion Tsofia (Looking for Zion) - Art and Zionism." Over 200 people congregated at the Museum to hear lectures and discussions by well-known historians, art historians, artists, and architects. In addition to lectures on the visual arts, lectures on other related subjects such as film and music were also presented.
Natan Sharansky, Minister of Industry and Trade, opened the conference with a moving personal talk about his experiences as a prisoner of Zion, and his aliyah and absorption in Israel.
Three artists, Dr. Michael Sgan-Cohen, Zvi Goldstein, and Larry Abramson, discussed their work and also spoke about current trends in Zionism and art.
Professor Bezalel Narkiss was Chairman in the session entitled, "From the Vision to the Practice of Art." Among the lecturers of this session were Professor Avraham Kampf from Haifa University who spoke about early Zionism and its approach to art, and Professor Haim Finkelstein from Ben Gurion University spoke about the artist Ephraim Moshe Lillien, regarding his role as a Zionist artist.
In the session chaired by Vice-Mayor and architect David Cassuto, "National Revival - Cultural Revival", Yigal Zalmona of the Israel Museum spoke about "the New Jew - a Cultural Zionist Project". Architect Zvi Efrat spoke about the site-object relationship in Zionist architecture, and Dr. Ariel Hirshfeld gave an analysis of the interpretations of Danziger's sculpture, "Nimrod."
Professor Ziva Amishai-Meisels, professor of Art History at the Hebrew University spoke about the themes of the Holocaust and Israeli wars in Israeli art, and Professor Mordechai Omer of the Tel Aviv Art Museum spoke about the dual-loyalty in the work of Aryeh Aroch, in the session entitled "Jew, Zionist, Israeli."
In broadening the scope of the conference, lectures were presented on related topics including the lecture by historian Dr. Yigal Ilam whose topic was "Did the Yearning for Zion give birth to Zionism." Film director and critic Nissim Dayan presented a discourse on "Myth and Anti-myth in Israeli Cinema." Professor Yehoash Hirshberg spoke about musical trends in Israel, from folk music to concert halls. His presentation concluded with a performance of songs by "Musica Eterna."