Naamah: A Tribute to Nahum Benari by Hilla Ben Ari

14:17 min, 2015

This video is no longer available for viewing.  It was presented from April 1-30, 2023 as part of the video art screening program Dancing on Tec(h)tonic Plates.

About The Work Artist Bio
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About the Work

Naamah: A Tribute to Nahum Benari, a video work by Hilla Ben Ari, provides commentary on the play Tubal-Cain, which was written in 1951 by Nahum Benari, the artist’s great uncle. The play is a contemporary interpretation of the Biblical story of Tubal-Cain and explores issues of community, power, and sin.  

In this video, Ben Ari sheds a new spotlight on her great uncle’s text and seeks to read it through a feminist lens, expanding on what she identifies as a tacit critical perspective. Focusing on the character Na’amah–a mute gleaner who is Tubal-Cain’s sister and a marginal character in the original story–and turning her into the main protagonist. 

The video is composed of choreographed scenes that take place on two designated stages that are located on a bare hill. Performed by individuals and in groups, the sequences present charged physical states that range between weakness and strength. Various static and fragmented gestures assemble into a five-act structure, tracing the play’s linear narrative while simultaneously deconstructing it.  

Artist Bio

Hilla Ben Ari is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tel Aviv. Working in a variety of mediums such as video, sculpture, installation, and print, Ben Ari brings into dialogue the visual arts,  theater, and dance. In her works, the female body often serves as a metaphorical junction where private, social, and political restrictions and constructs are addressed.

Ben Ari has had solo exhibitions in various venues including  Ticho House – The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Art, Ein Harod. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally, including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa, CA, the MAXXI Museum - National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, Italy, and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung, Taiwan as part of the 2009 Asian Art Biennial.  

Ben Ari’s videos have been presented in international festivals, including the Videonale 12 at the Bonn Museum of Art in Bonn, Germany, the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival at the National Art Center inTokyo, Japan, Body + Camera Festival, Mana Contemporary in Chicago, IL, and Loop Festival in Barcelona, Spain. 

Among the prizes she has been awarded are  the Prize for an Established Video Artist from the Israeli Ministry of Culture (2016), the Pins Prize from The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2016), The Premio Combat Prize, Italy (2016), Award on behalf of the Ostrovsky Family Fund - The Israeli Video Art and Experimental Cinema – Jerusalem Film Festival (2016), and The Kolb Prize from Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2014).  

She is the recipient of grants and scholarships from funds such as AICF, Artis, Asylum Arts, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the Ostrovsky Family Fund, and more. 

Ben Ari’s works are featured in the collections of the Israel Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Bundestag, Berlin, and other public and private collections.