Yehonatan (Yoni) Kislov(Hebrew: יהונתן קיסלוב כיס-לב)
12 September 1985 |
Mishmar Ayalon, Israel
|Field||Painting, Printmaking, Acting, Narrating|
Jonathan Kis-Lev (born 1985) is an Israeli artist and a peace activist. He is mostly known for his colorful naïve paintings, which have granted him recognition in Israel, and have become part of major art collections, including the collection of Bank Leumi, one of Israel's largest banks. Kis-Lev is also the president of the Israeli League of Young Esperanto Speakers.
Kis-Lev showed interest in the visual arts from an early age. He began studying painting with a private teacher at the age of five, and continued his artistic education at Aleph School of Arts Tel Aviv where he studied drawing and sculpting. At the age of 16 he was granted a scholarship to attend Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada. Though not explicitly an art school, Kis-Lev majored in visual arts under the guidance of teacher Art Brendon. He earned the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a major in visual arts.
Coming back to Israel, Kis-Lev continued developing his artistic skills while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli army. In 2007 he had his first exhibition in Tel Aviv entitled Beginnings: Neve Zedek and Jaffa. Visited by many, including Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, the exhibition marked his debut in the Israeli art world.
Following completion of his military service, Kis-Lev decided not to continue studying art in an art academy, but rather to develop his own style and technique by himself. In the years following the artist developed several techniques that were meant to enable him to "forget" all that he was taught about proper painting from an early age, and paint "like a child again". He began drawing some paintings with his weak left hand rather than his strong right, and drew the outline of some paintings when the canvas was placed upside down, so that the sky was placed on the bottom. According to the artist, these techniques helped him gain self-confidence in his intuition and paint more freely. The style Kis-Lev developed was referred to as naïve, even though some art critics have referred to the works as pseudo-naïve due to the self-conscious approach taken by the artist. The artist frequently donates to and collaborates with non-profit organizations to raise money for social causes, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters Israel, Giborim Ktanim - Small Heroes, Esra - Volunteering Together For the Community, and others.
2012 The Abstract With a Touch of Reality, curator: Judith Beiner, Griffin Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
2011 Of Gold, curator: Shiran Shafir Buchwald, Art and Soul Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
2010 Naharia My Love, curator: Lee Rimon, The Edge Gallery, Naharia, Israel
2010 Portraits of an Eternal Land, curator: Judith Beiner, Griffin Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
2009 Jonathan Kis-Lev, curator: Shiran Shafir Buchwald, Shorashim Art Gallery - International Bank, Tel Aviv, Israel
2007 Beginnings: Neve Zedek and Jaffa, Trade Tower Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2012 The Equal Exhibition, curator: Lee Rimon, The Edge Gallery, Naharia, Israel
2012 On A Small Scale, curator: Hana Kuman, Zadik Gallery, Jaffa, Israel
2012 Naïve Kunst Aus Israel, curator: Debora Gutman, Gutman-Art Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2012 International Naïve Art, curator: Jacques Dubois, Gallery Szyb Wilson, Katowice, Poland
2012 Israeli Naïve Art, curators: Ifat Reiss and Dan Chill, GINA Gallery of International Naïve Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
2012 Secret Exhibition, curators: Esti Drori and Doron Polak, Bank Leumi, Tel Aviv, Israel
2011 Abstract Thoughts, curator: Doron Polak, ZOA Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2009 B-Sides, curator: Inbal Drue, Zavta Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2009 Home, curator: Rotem Ritov, Apart Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
2009 Secret Exhibition curators: Esti Drori and Doron Polak, Bank Leumi, Tel Aviv, Israel
Following his participation in art workshops for peace at the age of 12, in which he met Palestinian children for the first time, Kis-Lev began to advocate for peace. He then joined the Jewish-Arab youth movement Sadaka Reut, which influenced him greatly. At the age of 16 he was selected by the Israeli committee of the United World Colleges as the Israeli Young Ambassador to the Pacific College in Canada in order to live and study alongside young students from around the world, including Palestinian and Arab students, as part of the movement's mission to serve as a "force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace". In those years Kis-Lev studied alongside other future political activists such as Shauna Aminath, leader of the youth wing for the Maldivian Democratic Party.
Upon completing his studies in Canada, Kis-Lev returned to Israel to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, and fought to be stationed at a unit that he considered as promoting peace rather than war and occupation. Following his struggle he was then stationed at the headquarters of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, where he was in charge of relations and assistance to organizations such as UNRWA and Doctors Without Borders. During his service he briefed Major General Yusef Mishleb regarding possible negative outcomes of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan on the Palestinian population.
Activities and writings
In 2011 Kis-Lev was selected as one of 25 young Israeli leaders to participate in the Tikvah Program for Political Leadership at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. Led by Prof. Peter Berkowitz and Dr. Alisa Rubin Peled, the program aimed at encouraging social and political change in Israel and the region.
In efforts to use the arts as a bridge between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and following his own experience as a youngster at art workshops for peace, Kis-Lev joined in 2011 a group of artists for peace. The project brought together 15 Israeli and 15 Palestinian artists of all disciplines, led by the Bereaved Families for Peace. The project included regular encounters between the artists, both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories. Among other joint activities the group visited together the Palestinian depopulated village Lifta and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. The initiative won extensive media coverage for being a unique cooperation of artists from both sides of the conflict, meeting for mutual understanding and peace.
Kis-Lev believes in the power of education and the arts in promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He states that encouraging encounters designed at eliminating mutual fear between the two sides need have no relation to political stances. Kis-Lev thinks of himself as a zionist and sees no cotradiction between that and his peace activism. Beginning in 2008 Kis-Lev began writing and lecturing about the possibilities for peace in the Middle East, stressing the importance of education for peace as a solution to the conflict.
Kis-Lev lives and works in his childhood village Mishmar Ayalon in the biblical Ajalon Valley. He is a board member of the Israeli League of Esperanto Speakers, and the president of the of Israeli League of Young Esperanto Speakers. Kis-Lev is an active member in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Israel, as well as in the Israeli Association of Visual Artists. He earned his Bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the Open University of Israel focusing on music and art history.
References and sources
- Thrope, Samuel (21 March 2011), "The Metamorphosis: Jonathan Kis-Lev's Jerusalems", Zeek, a Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, retrieved 5 December 2011
- The National Bank of Israel, Bank Leumi, purchased 15 paintings by the artist for the art collection of the bank. Kis-Lev, Jonathan (2 December 2009). Not Poor, Nor Starving (סיפורו של אמן (לא) מיוסר) (in Hebrew). Bank Leumi. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Kis-Lev, Jonathan. "Personal Angle - Joni Kis-Lev(Persona Angulo: Joni Kis-Lev)". In Wandel, Amri. Israela Esperantisto (in Esperanto) (Organo de Esperanto-Ligo en Israelo). 156-157 (2012 Summer-Winter): 40–44. ISSN 1565-3315. Retrieved 8 January 2013.; see also Kis-Lev, Jonathan. "Not Only Language - Way of Life! (Ne nur lingvo - viv-vojo!)". In Pavinski, Rogener. Kontakto (in Esperanto) (Universala Esperanto-Asocio) 245 (2011:5): 22. ISSN 0023-3692. Retrieved 10 December 2011.; see also Kis-Lev, Jonathan. "My First International Youth Congress of Esperanto (Mia Unua IJK)". In Wandel, Amri. Israela Esperantisto (in Esperanto). 154-155 (Somero-Vintro 2011): 21–26. ISSN 1565-3315. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "Jonathan Kis-lev Bio", Connection Art, retrieved 5 December 2011
- Next Year in Jerusalem, by Jonathan Kis-Lev, Griffin Gallery, retrieved 5 December 2011
- Bulstein, Ariel (14 March 2011). "Diamonds and Gold in Jerusalem That Looks Like an Artist (Алмазы и золото в Иерусалиме, похожем на художника)". Booknik (in Russian) (Avi Chai Foundation).
- Friedman, Asi (10 November 2008). "Just Now (בדיוק עכשיו)". LaIsha Magazine (in Hebrew).
- Shafir Buchwald, Shiran, Art That Does Good For the Heart (in Hebrew), The Marker Cafe, retrieved 5 December 2011
- Jonathan Kis-Lev, artiste peintre (in French), Search Israel, retrieved 5 April 2012
- Shwartz, Eitan (15 November 2011). "Eitan Shwartz About His Mother's Exhibition". Notzetz, Israel's Society Site (in Hebrew). Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "10th Bar Mitzvah of Giborim Ktanim" (Press release) (in Hebrew). Giborim Ktanim. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
- "ESRA Tel Aviv on 'The Young Artist in Israel Today'" (Press release). ESRA. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
- Teichert, Corina (July 2008), From Attempts to Crossing Borders (Vom Versuch, Grenzen zu überschreiten) (in German), Jüdische Zeitung, retrieved 3 November 2009
- Full quote: "force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future". see United World Colleges - Mission Statement; see also UWC website
- Kis-Lev, Jonathan, I learned I really can stretch my boundaries, Pearson College, retrieved 15 January 2012
- "The Tikvah IDC Program In Political Leadership 2011 Fellows". Tikvah Fund. October 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- Kis-Lev, Jonathan, My Experience at the Tikvah IDC Program – Opening My Mind, Tikvah IDC Program, retrieved 5 December 2011
- Lilintal, Shiri. "The Tikvah Program In Political Leadership". Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- See Kis-Lev, Jonathan (1 July 2012), Artists for Peace, Bereaved Families For Peace, retrieved 12 July 2012; see also Golan, Omer (29 December 2011), Weekend in Beit Jala (סופ"ש בבית ג'אלה) (in Hebrew), Bereaved Families For Peace, retrieved 3 January 2012
- "An optimist seeks peace (Ein Optimist sucht den Frieden)", Schwäbische Zeitung (in German), 10 July 2008, retrieved 5 December 2011
- "The Search for Peace - The Israeli-Palestinian situation (Die Suche nach Frieden – Die israelisch-palästinensische Lage)" (Press release) (in German). Berlin: Das Festival für junge Politik, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. 13 June 2008. p. 83. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
- Apart from being a Big Brother in the organization, Kis-Lev donated few artworks to a benefit for the organization, alongside artists Eliora Schwartz-Steimatzky and Aya Chovers. See "Big Brother Big Sister of Israel Benefit Art Exhibit" (Press release). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Israel. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- University President's Honors Recipients (in Hebrew), Open University of Israel, 2009, retrieved 21 March 2011
- Rimon, Lee. "Jonathan Kis-Lev, Naharia My Love". In Israel, Dr. Zvika. Can, Israeli Art Magazine (in Hebrew) 17 (December 2010): 68–69.
- Chill, Dan (3 April 2012). "Meet the Israeli Naives at GINA Gallery". GINA Gallery Art Blog. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Bogen, Amir (18 October 2010). "Tel Aviv presents: Art that Never Sleeps". YNET. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "'Ancient' Gallery Exhibits Israel". Boca Raton Forum (Boca Raton, Florida, USA). 17 November 2010.
- Naharia My Love, catalog, The Edge Gallery Publishing, Naharia, Israel, 2010
- Secret Exhibition, catalog, Esti Drori and Doron Polak, Bank Leumi, Israel, 2009
- Jonathan Kis-Lev: Artist Vision, Shiran Shafir Buchwald, Shorashim Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2009
- Home, catalog, Rotem Ritov, Apart Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2009
- Thrope, Samuel (21 March 2011), "The Metamorphosis: Jonathan Kis-Lev's Jerusalems", Zeek, a Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture