» Artists » Artists » Jack Jano » Jano on art and himself

Jack Jano


Jano on art and himself

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I love using material that I find in my surroundings and make use of it, transform it into sculptures after it has been used and discarded.

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I work with the texts of my heritage- connect contemporary art to being Jewish, living in the land. I try to be truthful about my heritage, using the language, the wanderings, the shrines, the charity box,-all the elements that are us. I combine these elements in art installations.

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For many years I have been insistent and stubborn to integrate Jewish art in modern Tel Aviv, where they want a New Yorker image – in the fashion, culture, thinking. They replicate New York & Europe. They disregard all the simple things that withstood for thousands of generations. Recently, there is an awakening. I hear it in the music-a mix if new &old tradition. This development is inevitable – they need to open up.

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We lived before in crowded Nachlaot near the Jerusalem market. The kids went to the experimental school. We wanted to taste a change – from the crowd to open space.

When we came to Clil in 1994, we started by clearing the land we purchased from the local arabs – it was just a hilltop of thorns and snakes. We built a tent, then a room to live in, and slowly slowly a house grew. It was all temporary ,for a week, a month, a year. Suddenly 17 years have passed. What!? 17 years!! I could have been in comfortable Tel Aviv instead of dealing with all the difficulties of building a home on some mountaintop. But I’m happy that I continued my art work and wasn’t only immersed in the process of building. Recently our standard of living improved: from generator &car batteries to solar energy. Deluxe comfort!!

It’s good that I passed through this experience, because there is  real satisfaction from “toil of one’s hands”. Work is prayer. Whoever works and prays is credited. Whoever just prays-for what does he pray?

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I like the interlocking of religions & mysticism from all the world – there are no differences in spiritual work – no one is better than the other. Everything is material, we want to touch the level which is spiritual, where there is no identity, no possesiveness. In 1979 when I was in an ashram in India, I learnt about my Jewishness. I am a religious Jewish man living in the land of Israel, but not part of any group who say that they “are special”, “their rabbi is better”. All of that is nonsense as opposed to the real spirit.

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Museum Tel Aviv will never exhibit any of my art. The curator, Motti Omer, said “over my dead body, I will not exhibit Jack Jano.” Why? Because Jack Jano represents Jewishness, Morocco, religious art – not good for our image. If I would copy the ways of the world, I could have been part of the bunch. but because I try to be real, I’m not represented there. He is like the Achmadnigad of Tel Aviv. In the administrative culture, whoever holds the job, controls the whole art scene. For years & years, one man chooses whom he likes ,and who he wants erased. And this is supposed to be “real art”!?

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Work is renewal. All of my art are one big piece – a mirror of Jack Jano, who came from Morocco to Shlomi (development town for immigrants), to Jerusalem, to the sea as a merchant sailor, to New York, Soho, in the big city – the story of one man’s life, as if catching  each moment in each chapter, full of influences, confusions, and truths.

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