Mechitzah (Room Divider) Project, 2011
In 2010-2011, Ilanit Shalev completed her first public installation. The project took place at Chabad Hebrew Academy school, San Diego, CA and involved children’s art.
Ilanit started the project with 10 students 6th through 8th grade, who took elective fused glass class. She had two goals in mind: give the students a deep and fulfilling learning experience while designing glass tiles for the Mechitzah project.
Since it’s a Jewish school the element of the Mechitzah has Jewish symbols. Each student sketched their own pictures from his/her own perspective. They created more then 30 sketches and then voted for the ones which they felt should be part of the design.
The next step was converting all the beautiful sketches to glass tiles using glass line paint and powders. Some of the designs and installation challenges were that the whole divider needed to be portable (on wheels) and needed to be equally attractive from both sides. It wasn’t clear from the start how this was going to be achieved, but gradually the vision became clear. The fused glass tiles would float in ½” thick glass sheets.
Glass is the artist’s medium and she wanted to push its boundaries. Lots of research was done to find references, but nothing like this had ever been attempted before.
The project was successfully completed and changed the whole look of the hall/synagogue.
Mural project- Congregation Beth Am- 2017
The mural project idea was born as a desire to create a piece of art that included all members of the congratulation. Ilanit worked with more than 200 members creating the art between 2016-2017.
Ilanit worked closely with small groups which included 2nd to 12th grade students as well as teachers, rabbis and private donors. The idea was to describe the various definitions of Beth Am ( the house of nation), through art.
Each group based their art on different stories read to them describing the differences in the nations. For example, the nation of the book, the nation of the Torah, the nation of stiff neck, one nation, the chosen people, etc.
Together, all the variations created “One Nation”, Beth Am.
Each member received a 3″x 3″ tile to describe the nation through shapes and colors. The 200 pieces created the name of the congregation in the void…