Rami Meir is an Israeli artist originally from Azerbaijan, a mountain Jew by origin. A year ago, despite the pandemic, he held a solo exhibition at the State Museum of the East in Moscow.
This year, one of the artist's works from the "Mountain Jews" series was included in the museum's collection. Now Meir is working on minted coins of mountain Jews in gold, silver and bronze, recently published his book of parables and aphorisms in Azerbaijani and for some reason continues to live and work in Moscow. What projects he is currently working on, the artist Rami Meir told in an interview with Natalya Ivanova specially for the media resource "Greater Asia".
- A year ago, the pandemic stopped the exhibition projects of many artists. How did you manage to hold your personal exhibition at the State Museum East? =5506362">
- Until the last moment, we didn't know if we could hold the exhibition or not. For example, in March last year, my works took part in an exhibition in Italy. And after the opening day, it immediately closed until June. But in the case of the State Museum of the East, everything was successful, in Moscow in August the restrictions were partially lifted. And it was a great moment to present our exposition, to communicate with people, with the public.
People are tired of sitting at home, they want good impressions, food for the soul. As a result, my exhibition "The History of One Nation - for the Whole World" was visited by many guests of the museum, and many experts and diplomats. The reviews are the warmest.
- Have you come up with a format for your fans abroad?
- Yes, we did a virtual tour . And it wasn't even related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that the digital transformation of creativity is a must-have format today if an artist is working all over the world and for the whole world. The world art ecosystem itself is rapidly globalizing today. Online fairs, online galleries, NFTs - there are no boundaries. Global industry experts today say that the art market has shown high resilience to the pandemic and has recovered, and this is also due to the global infrastructure of the industry.
- Your painting « Mountain Jewish Farmers” was transferred to the collection of the State Museum of the East. How did this happen, and why this particular work?
- The great interest of Muscovites in the series of works "Mountain Jews" led me to this idea. Indeed, in general, the theme of Mountain Jews is almost not represented in the collections of Russian museums. I thought it was wrong.
But, of course, we understand that the artist's intention alone is not enough in such a matter. There is a procedure. And I am happy that the expert commission assessed the artistic value of my painting and accepted it into the museum's collection. The work will be in the exposition of the North Caucasian branch. This is a significant event for me and my people.
- And for you as an artist?
- Of course! I'm sure it's every artist's dream. After all, commercial success at international fairs, cooperation even with major galleries does not guarantee that the name of the artist will be preserved in history. The museum collection is a completely different quality of recognition. And I am happy that I experience this event in my lifetime.
- A series of paintings "Mountain Jews" is your calling card. How did you decide to create it?
- I wanted to paint retrospectively recreate the history, life, folk costumes, traditions, crafts of their people. Unfortunately, historically it so happened that in the 19th century, when the fine arts came to the East, my ancestors were busy with questions of survival. They lived in a hospitable, but foreign state. The task was to preserve the family, religion, to survive. There was no time for art. But today this opportunity exists, and there are many talented people in our people, including artists - men and women. Through pictorial images, referring to the support of our ancestors, in this way I also set an example for our modern artists, youth - create, show, develop. The time has come!
- Sell individual works from this series? Surely collectors are interested in them?
- Interested. But I try to keep the integrity of this series. The collection always subsequently arouses more interest than individual canvases. However, this fall I will make two exceptions. A significant event for our people is being prepared under the auspices of the STMEGI International Charitable Foundation for Mountain Jews, with which we support each other. As part of a charity auction, collectors will have the opportunity to purchase two of my works from the “Mountain Jews” series and at the same time do what is pleasing to the Almighty - to support the language of my people, the Juuri.
- What other topics, besides your native people, are you interested in in your work?
- I am, in the most literal sense, a contemporary artist. I experiment with techniques, forms, turn to digital solutions. Recently completed work on a project of light paintings. They also use images of Mountain Jews of the late 19th - early 20th century, but they are not made in painting, but in the format of two-meter neon billboards. This is how radically I approach the idea of a dialogue between generations, how brightly I turn the gaze of our youth to their worthy roots. I plan to present light paintings for the first time at the next personal museum exhibition, which I am already working on. It will not take place in Russia.
- What techniques do you work with?
Look at what works along with the world's masterpieces for millions of dollars today go to Sotheby's and Christie's auctions, and you will understand why I reveal this conflict. The removal of all sorts of boundaries in contemporary art does not relieve the artist of responsibility for the aesthetic value and spiritual content, energy, of the work that he creates.
-What themes do you develop in your work?
- In addition to the history of my people in painting, the theme of the significance of the smallest element for large systems continues to occupy me. Man is a grain of sand in relation to the Universe! But he cannot be a simple grain of sand, because he was created in the image and likeness of God! And it is interesting for me to explore the manifestations of the holiness of this grain of sand in the vast expanse of the Universe. I do it through different images, sometimes very simple ones. But when people guess my intention, many are surprised,
- Very interesting. And why do you, an Israeli, live and work in Moscow today?
- Lives in Moscow today a lot of people close to me from my people. It is here that many of our young people are thinking and purposeful. People also need spiritual and cultural food in order to confidently move forward. Today in Moscow, as an artist, I can do more for art in general and for my people. At the same time, I continue to develop around the world.
Greater Asia media resource is official media partner State Museum of Oriental Art.< /b>