GENEVA (EJP)---The Jewish Contribution to Art and European Culture will be highlighted on Thursday in Geneva with the opening of an exhibition of one of the world’s most important collections of 20th Century Russian avant-garde art.
"My Homeland is Within My Soul, Art Without Borders: The Jewish Contribution to Art and European Culture" will open in the Swiss city in the company of European government officials, members of Parliament, and the diplomatic corps at the Palais des Nations which headquarters the European seat of the United Nations.
The exhibit, which is the first-ever public presentation of the collection of the Museum of Avant-Garde Mastery ("MAGMA"), features original works by internationally-recognized Jewish art masters - including Chagall and Rothko.
Through the works themselves, the exhibit aims to promote tolerance and cultural values in contemporary society. The works are living examples of both the Jewish contribution to art and culture and European tolerance and acceptance. Although many of the exhibits were created with strong Jewish identities, their gift to European culture is a shining example of minority contribution to the multicultural and tolerant landscape within the continent.
Underlying this, the venue for the exhibit launch was deliberately chosen as the Palais de Nations/the United Nations, the heart of European diplomacy and worldwide symbol of efforts to foster a tolerant atmosphere. The art and artworks featured by the Museum and the exhibit focus on the concept of "art without borders" – the power of free expression of ideas, possible only in the atmosphere of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among people of various nationalities and backgrounds.
The exhibit, which opened on June 11 and will run through July 17, is an example of cooperation between the United Nations Director General in Geneva, the Russian Embassy, and Moshe Kantor, Chairman and Founder of the MAGMA Museum and President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC).
"This exhibition beautifully demonstrates the exceptional contribution of Jews to European art and culture," said Kantor.
"Chagall himself famously noted that 'If I were not a Jew... I wouldn’t have been an artist', yet few truly understood that his brush was guided by his strong Jewish identity," Kantor added.
"We hope that the works on display by internationally-recognized masters will inspire tolerance and understanding also encourage our youth to take pride in their Jewish roots as many of these artists demonstrated through the medium of art."
The exhibit will feature 40 artworks from such masters as Mark Chagall, Chaim Soutine, Amedeo Modigliani, Mark Rothko, Leon Bakst, Alexander Tyshler, Jacques Lipchitz, Viktor Pivovarov, Ilya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, Solomon Telingater, David Shterenberg, and other important Jewish artists who have made a lasting contribution to world art and culture.