Tmima is an internationally renowned Israeli artist. At sixteen she was accepted to the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem on a full scholarship, where she ultimately graduated. After graduating she received the American-Israeli Cultural Foundation Scholarship and moved to Europe, following the stirring urge of a friend to showcase her work around France, Italy and Switzerland. Tmima is a prolific, disciplined and talented artist who has been exhibited in many museums, galleries and permanent collections around the world. She left Paris to live in SoHo, Manhattan, where she increased her focus on sculptures.
Tmima’s artwork forces the contemporary eye and mind to deal with personal experiences. Her approach to the subject matter in her sculptures advocates fluctuation and originality as she never creates the same piece twice; her sculptures shift from historical events to themes like war, religion, loss, abuse, survival and memory, as well as modern socio-political issues. Influenced by Bauhaus, Arte Povera and Abstract Expressionism, her sculptures and paintings reveal the truth behind mundane materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms that seem to be reproduced with ease, although her processes and techniques beg to differ.
Tmima is drawn to various and often unusual materials for their symbolic potency which references time and patterns of life, death and decay. Stones have a resonance for the artist both as a material and a subject matter, as her paintings constantly draw geometrical stone-carved people, or animals, and her sculptures utilize the organic shape of the stone to express a vitality, or suffering, intrinsic to her past memories. Also, derived from her interest in history and knowledge, Tmima often uses books in her sculptures to create a dialogue between the artwork and the viewer. The books function as containers of meaning which portray the civilizations’ political silenced issues. Her use of unconventional materials in her sculptures exposes a revitalized awareness of the symbologic ideas of everyday non-art resources in order to express the remembrance of her past.
ML: When did you start making art?
I can’t remember not. I had to express myself through art. It was the only way to survive.
ML: What were you painting back then?
I was painting the whole neighborhood. I was commissioned to paint graffiti. It was always a way of survival.
ML: How do you transform your materials?
I stress them by carving, dissolving, cutting and painting, but you need to know when to stop.
ML: What is the meaning behind working with stones?
I love stones. Stones for me are living things. The stones I choose have the feeling that I need, that I can see myself or that have the shape which I can mold.
ML: Why did you build such big studio spaces in your house to showcase your art?
You can judge your work the best in a large studio. Art completely changes as soon as you put it in wide and tall space.
Tmima’s art will be showcased on April 28th at ISC’s 4th annual International Sculpture Day.
Michele Lorusso is a writer and photographer based in New York.