Born in Fez, Morocco, immigrated to Israel at early age and settled in Shlomi. A graduate of the Bezalel Academy.
In his works, Jano creates models of tombs and synagogues made of rusty and disintegrating iron, worn-out books, melted wax, yahrzeit candles, and other materials. All these are fused into a sculptural design that revives the various elements and gives them both a religious and artistic validity.
The pictures of the righteous persons and the portraits made by Jano are a kind of an experiment in practical magic, while raising questions regarding identity and connection with popular ritual tradition. In the works inspired by a trip to Morocco, the artist’s land of birth, popular folklore is reflected, too, through a post-orientalistic view, free of any exotics.
His ‘journey’ works – wheelbarrows in which books or ritual articles are stacked, as well as his works based oh wheelchairs – do not express a journey derived from a deep nostalgia towards the Diasporaand in the footsteps of the ‘generation of the wilderness’, but rather an internal journey of self-exploration.
The arched structures created by Jano, a combination of models of tombs of righteous Jewish persons and of Arab sheikhs, undermine the dichotomy between ‘Arab’ and ‘Jewish’ in order to make the relationship between them visible, a relationship that the Israeli society t keeps strictly oppressed and excluded.
Thus, Jano’s work draws upon the world of Jewish tradition, and in his objects, the border between an aesthetic object and a magical one is sometimes blurred. ‘My studio is like a synagogue. There I pray to God to help me find my truth, so I can become one with what I do’ testifies the artist.
Thus, Jano’s deployment of artifacts from the religious world is not an act of defamiliarization but an act of hybridization, pointing to the difficulty of placing traditionalism within a definite sociological framework. This difficulty emerges from the refusal of Jews from Arab countries to be classified by the European categories of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’. Against this background, Jano’s work succeeds in capturing complex hybridization between religion and secularity, and not just replacing one of them with the other. In this, actually, lies its true power.
David Sperber, Jack Jano: Complex Hybridization between Religion and Secularity.