Ofra Friedland is among Israel’s more significant contemporary artists. Described as a lyricist in color, her art is rooted in Jewish tradition and Eretz Yisrael, with Jerusalem, where she lives and works, her constant inspiration. The walls of its Old City are visible from her studio, and its unique light is a recurring motif of her work.
Friedland’s roots go back to Jaffa where she was born in 1959 to European immigrants to the young State of Israel. Her surroundings and her heritage — the Bible, Jewish history and literature, Israeli life, landscapes and the people within them — thrill her and inform her art. Nature, people, faith and land, the past, the future and their integration are her creative themes and her inspirational wellspring.
Working in different media (oils, fresco, sculpture, ceramics, tapestry, stained glass and more), it was for an oil painting that Friedland first received recognition. Over the years, she has produced several series in oils inspired by Biblical themes, and is best known for her stirring Five Books of Moses, now recreated in Kehilath Jeshurun’s five glorious stained glass windows.
Prolific and industrious, Friedland has mastered numerous materials and techniques to display her artistic vision. This has made her a popular designer of complete environments, from paintings to sculpture to rugs and more, for religious, commercial and private spaces, both inside Israel and out.
It is oils, however, that remains her most intuitive medium, and the one in which she most profoundly explores her passions: Israel and the past, present and future, interweaving everyday reality with mighty concepts, threaded with the evolving human experience, washed in the special radiance of Jerusalem.