Arts and Culture | Local

Downtown gallery shows Tel Aviv artist’s mythic works

"Man Adrift in Box" by Benjamin Levy

A private collection of works by Israeli artist Benjamin Levy is on display through Monday, Oct. 18 at M.A.S.T., 299 S. Park Ave. The collection includes paintings, drawings, lithographs and prints from the 1960s to 1990s.

Much of Levy’s art is rooted in mythic family tales and remembrances. Near the beginning of the 20th century, the artist’s grandfather died in Yemen. His survivors, including Levy’s father, Ovadiah, set out on an arduous trek across the desert to the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Ovadiah’s mother and infant brother succumbed along the way, leaving the teenaged Ovadiah and a younger sister to enter Jaffa alone. After the death of his first wife and two children, at age 40 Ovadiah married Batsheva, a 14-year-old orphan whose Sephardic Jewish parents had migrated from Turkey and Yugoslavia. The two raised 11 children in Tel Aviv, including Benjamin. Ovadiah supported his brood as a peddler of nuts, seeds and candy, as well as birds and fish, which appear frequently in Levy’s art.

M.A.S.T.  is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, call 720-0299.