The Role of Artistic Creativity in the Lives of Israeli Emigres in Los Angeles

Malka Nedivi: Gallery of Art

The Bride (2014)
This piece depicts a young woman wearing a colorful dress and standing against a colorful background. Her hands are wide open and a circle, which looks like a bubble, is emerging from the side of her face. It represents Malka’s imagination of her mother on her wedding day. Although in reality, her mother never had a wedding party after the war. She is not wearing the usual, white wedding dress, but is instead wearing a very colorful and bright dress. The colors are a depiction of Malka’s mother’s love for bright colors such as red, orange, blue, yellow, and green. Her posture seems to depict a sense of strength, as if she is protecting an entity. Furthermore, the circle emerging from the side of the woman’s head may symbolize the feeling of confusion and two-heartedness felt by her mother when marrying her father. Additionally, it may reflect the idea that often, our minds are in two separate places at the same time. This feeling is a feeling that is frequently shared by brides or even grooms right before their wedding day. Thus, the picture may symbolize that although Malka’s mother was strong and powerful in her younger days, she was nevertheless still conflicted with different emotions and feelings.

Bubale (2012)
This extremely large sculpture of a woman with a drooped head and a colorful dress represents Malka’s mother at an older age. She is once again depicted in a colorful dress due to her passion for bright colors. According to Malka, her mother has played an enormous role in her life and in who she is, which may be the reason why Malka’s sculpture of her mother is presented in such a massive size. Furthermore, to symbolize that she had experienced lots of agony, anguish, and had always “carried the weight of the world on her shoulders,” the doll’s head is bent forward and is drooped down. In other words, the drooped figure represents the feeling of literally getting bent due to the weight of all of the baggage a Holocaust survivor must carry for the rest of his/her life.

Floating Man (2014)
Once again, Nevidi uses the bent figure image, but this time the bent posture of the sculpture represents both her father’s physical fragility as well as his emotional fragility. According to Malka, her father had battled with Osteoporosis, which is signified by his drooped head and shoulders. Furthermore, Malka’s father had also been a Holocaust survivor, just like her mother. Thus, the drooped posture also represents his emotional battle with the draining memories of the Holocaust and his endless suffering of having to constantly carry his painful memories of the genocide.

From the Family Photo (2015)
This mixed media piece depicts a woman is positioned above a man reaching towards the man through a space provided between them. She, however, cannot touch him. On the other hand, the man is not returning the gesture and is not reaching back.The woman in this image represents Malka’s mother and the man represents Malka’s father. According to Malka, her mother had saved her father’s life in a concentration camp. Thus, after the Holocaust, she had told him to marry her because he owed it to her for saving him. Therefore, in this image, her control and power over him is depicted by her towering position above him. Moreover, it seems as though she is reaching for him, but is not able to truly touch him because of the space created between them. The space can symbolize Malka’s perception of her parents’ emotional connection to each other. In other words, Malka may have chosen to put distance between the male and the female in order to symbolize that her parents were emotionally distant from each other. The female, however, seems to be longing for attachment and closeness, as she is reaching for the male on the bottom. The male however, is not reaching back, but instead is actually out of reach. Thus, through this artwork, Malka depicts her mother’s longing to be more emotionally connected to her husband, and her husband’s lack of effort and interest in wanting to be emotionally close to her.

War (2007) 
This piece depicts four figures who seem to be either falling, stuck or trying to escape. Another four figures seem to be sitting on top of the frame and watching and pointing to those inside of the frame. The struggling figures inside of the frame may represent the victims of the Holocaust. It seems as though these individuals are losing control of their surroundings and are trying to escape, but are not succeeding. The body gestures and positions of these individuals may convey the emotions many Holocaust victims might have experienced, such as feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and intense panic. Malka has brought these emotions, shared by her parents, into life through the depiction of this artwork. Moreover, the people sitting on top of the frame may symbolize onlookers, bystanders, or even the perpetrators, as they seem to be watching, pointing, and maybe even laughing. It seems as though they are simply not trying to help, but are only witnessing the suffering as it unravels.


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