The artist Yisrael Dror Hemed is the winner of the Haim Shiff Prize for Figurative Realist Art for 2020. The prize consists of a grant of $10,000 to the artist, and a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
, accompanied by a catalogue.
Over eighty artists entered the running for this years award, and the winning artist was selected by the 2020 Shiff Prize jury: Chief Curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Doron Rabina; Curator Emanuela Calò, Director and Chief Curator of the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Dr. Aya Lurie; Gil Brandes, attorney-at-law; and art collector Doron Sebbag. Tel Aviv Museum of Art Director, Tanya Cohen-Uzieli, and family representative Dubi Shiff, served as observers.
Yisrael Dror Hemed, born in 1975, lives and works in Netanya. He has had no formal art training, apart from painting studies with the artist Maya Cohen Levy. He holds a bachelors and masters degree in law from Tel Aviv University.
From the jurys reasoning for their award: Yisrael Dror Hemed draws figures, mostly men whom he encounters at random. Through intense pictorial expression, he turns fleeting encounters into enduring eternities that are fixed in the body of the painting. As a painter, he covets the objects of the painting, and works diligently to portray them yet stops short of laying claim to them. The sheer vitality and emotional and erotic intensity projected by his paintings safeguards the figures from objectification, their pronounced presence being precisely what renders their unattainability into an image. They appear, and dissipate, like a fantasy. Hemed impressed the committee with painting that is accessible to the viewer, using figurative painting to stage a quiet but persistent rebellion against the erosion of the photographic image in the digital age.
Haim Shiff (19242000) was a businessman, hotelier, and avid collector of Israeli art, who supported many young and unknown artists. His son, Dov (Dubi) Shiff, decided to commemorate his fathers memory by awarding an annual prize at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, to a notable Israeli painter in the field of figurative painting. The Haim Shiff Prize for Figurative Realistic Art was founded in 2008, and over the years has become well established in the Israeli art scene. Exhibitions of award-winning artists have attracted large audiences.
Past winners of the Shiff Prize for Figurative Realistic Art: Amnon David Ar, 2008; Maya Zer, 2009; Eran Reshef, 2010; Orit Akta Hildesheim, 2011; Sigal Tsabari, 2012; Eldar Farber, 2012; David Nipo, 2013; Leonid Balaklav, 2014; Ofer Rotem, 2015; Fatma Shanan Dery, 2016; Matan Ben Cnaan, 2017; Samah Shihadi, 2018; Tigist Yoseph Ron, 2019