History

Nachshon’s  History

           This photo was taken two years before Nachshon passed 

Nachshon was born on 21st May 1972 he was a bachelor and was raised on a kibbutz in Israel.

Who was Nachshon in biblical times?

While he is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, Nachshon is emphasized in rabbinic literature as a crucial figure during the Exodus from Egypt.

It is written that as the Israelites fled Egypt, the sea ahead of them and the Egyptian army behind, they cried out to Moses, “Why did you bring us here to perish?” Rabbi Judah says: “When the Israelites stood at the sea, one said: ‘I don’t want to go down to the sea first.’ Another said: ‘I don’t want to go down first either.’ While they were standing there, and while Moses was praying to God to save them, Nachshon the son of Aminadav jumped up, went down and fell into the waves.”  Talmud (Bavli, Sota 36a), Mechilta (Parashat B’shalach). Ever since the name Nachshon has become synonymous with courage and with doing the right thing, even when it is not popular.

 This stamp was hand made by Nachshon for a College project –  When Moses opened the waters, Nachshon Ben-Aminadav was the first to walk on dry ground.

Handmade stamp

Handmade stamp

 

For the first years of Nachshon’s life he slept and lived in a children’s house until he moved to sleep at home at the age of five.

Nachshon was a love child, the first-born to both sides of the family. I remember some of the older generation of the kibbutz would come and say to me “I want a grandson just like Nachshon” and I would say “there will only be one Nachshon and he is mine.”  

In those days, as a parent, it was difficult to see any talents that your child may have had. As a parent of a child being raised in a communal children’s house, you could only see your children for a few hours each evening, so it was hard to discover any kind of talent. However, when Nachshon started to sleep at home at the age of five, he used to do little drawings on small pieces of paper that he would throw behind his desk. I used to find them when I cleaned behind the desk about once a year. I am sorry to say I did not keep them – most were crushed up and some were torn. However, I did keep one a pencil on paper of Robot Rick. I think Nachshon was about 8 years old when he drew this.

Robot

Robot Rick pencil on two pieces of paper. Priceless!

The children at the age of fourteen moved out of the family home to a youth complex where they lived two to a room. Nachshon’s father had an art book of Escher and Nachshon used to look at it all the time. He took that book and started to draw from the book  on the walls, doors, windows, and ceiling of his room. I remember going to see the room: there were drawings everywhere. However, the housemistress/matron was not very happy with it and told Nachshon to paint the room and remove all the drawings. The kids in his class were not too happy with that request and tried to convince her to leave them, but to no avail, and they were removed. And Nachshon, being Nachshon, did as he was told.

I am just so very sorry that I was not more interested at the time and to have kept some of his earlier art works. Who in a million years would have thought that Nachshon would pass at such an early age, and that today every piece of his art is so very dear to us all.

At school the art teacher realized how talented Nachshon was, but on a Kibbutz in those days, art was not regarded as work and only as a hobby.

His talent started to show after his compulsory three-year army duty, and even then I did not keep anything, except one of his school homework books that started to show his love of art.

Nachshon went to Goren College after the army. He studied Arts and Graphic for four years. One of the most brilliant students according to his class-mate, however, Nachshon was shy and reserved.

 He never boosted about any of his works and the truth of the matter did not show us too many of them either. I spoke to one of his class-mates and she told me things about Nachshon that I am sorry that at the time I did not see. Art was not a subject that was recognized on kibbutz as work, so when he finished his studies he went to work in the cowshed.

Nachshon was not comfortable in his own skin at the time: he would not show off any of his works, but used to sketch and paint whenever he could.

Nachshon wanted to leave the kibbutz and tried to find a job in Tel Aviv but his shyness and sometimes awkward manner made it very difficult for him to adjust to the big wild world. Having lived on a kibbutz for so many years, life beyond that was difficult for him. He found a job as a graphic designer which he held for four months but he could not adjust to the rigid requests: he was a fantasy artist and that was starting to show.

Nachshon lived on the kibbutz in his father’s house for many years, but did not work. I had divorced his father and left after twenty years on the kibbutz. I know how difficult it was for Nachshon at the time, but with his shyness and lack of confidence, his choices were limited.

One thing he could not be without was his art. He would get up early every day and, as he used to say, “work.” It is what he called his art. He painted, sketched, sculptured, and carved. At the time I did not see much of his work as he would put most of them away in drawers and cupboards. Eventually, after a few years, he found work as a night guard on the kibbutz. The perfect job for Nachshon: guarding during the night and working (art) during the day.

During this time he would produce some amazing works. From comics to fantasy on Formica and oils on canvas, this was his time to shine and do the only thing he really loved. People would commission work from him but again he was very reserved. He was a humble and innocent soul and had no intentions of showing off his art.

I tried during those years, as did his aunt, to try and encourage him to produce works that people would rather hang on their wall, but Nachshon’s style was not what people wanted. His fantasy world was his, and he could not move from what he felt and produced.

He did four exhibitions in Israel but again his works are very unusual and I am afraid that they did not sell well.

Exhibitions in Israel Gerard Behar Centre Jerusalem 28.11.05 - 02.01.06

Exhibitions in Israel
Gerard Behar Centre Jerusalem
28.11.05 – 02.01.06

Exhibition in Israel Castra Cultural Center 25.08.05 - 08.09.05

Exhibition in Israel
Castra Cultural Center
25.08.05 – 08.09.05

 Nachshon eventually bought his own house on the kibbutz. Well, it was more like a shed. I remember him saying when we first went to see it, “Ema(mummy) don’t worry it will be beautiful.” Nachshon worked on his house for months. Everything he either found in the bins or was donated to him. The only two items he bought for his house were a wardrobe and his mattress: everything else were things that other people discarded. The house was missing a door, window, and kitchen.

Nachshon's house on the Kibbutz before he renovated.

Nachshon’s house on the Kibbutz before he renovated.

The mosaic wall and the plaster lion around the light were done by Nachshon. During this time he started to lose weight. Of course all of us knew that he was working as a night guard and during the day would renovate his new home. He was working hard and not eating much. Who in a million years would have thought the worst was yet to come.

Tiles that were given to Nachshon for free.

Tiles that were given to Nachshon for free. Mosaic around bathroom wall.

Mosic_Bathroom

Tiles that were given to Nachshon for free. Mosaic around bathroom wall

Plaster_light

Plaster light in Nachshon’s studio

 

It is very difficult to write this, but if we had paid more attention, would it have made any difference, or if Nachshon would have gone earlier to see a doctor could it have made a difference? The answer to that is NO. The cancer that Nachshon had was incurable: it would not have made any difference at what stage it was discovered. The prognosis was between 3 to 5 months, but Nachshon was with us for 11 months. For nearly nine months of that time he worked and produced some amazing works. During his illness the only thing that he wanted to do was to go back to his “boring” life. However his life was far from boring: it was rich and colorful and full of who he was. His world of art was filled with fantasy art paintings, sketches and so much more. He always used to say that he was working on a painting or a carving: it was not a hobby nor was it work – it was his life, a life rich in fairies, dragons and still-life. He expressed this world in the many artifacts that I found after he passed. Over 1200 pieces of art, on which I am working to make sure that the world will see them all and that Nachshon will be an “Artist to be discovered.” I found seven sketch books filled with so many wonderful sketches, but also found so many empty pages that he should have been here to fill. But that was not to be. He was taken away, from all those that knew him and loved him so very much.

The very last work was two statues: the Angel and the Devil, which he attached to his bedposts. The Angel he carved first to make sure it would protect him from the Devil, but it did not. The devil of that disease took him away. 

 

 

The Angle - This work was done one before the last The Devil. I believe he did this so the Angle would look after him before he did the Devil. That was not to be. Size: 42cm x 32cm

The Angle – This work was done one before the last The Devil. I believe he did this so the Angle would look after him before he did the Devil. That was not to be.
Size: 42cm x 32cm

Angel_and_Devil

Nachshon attached them to his bedposts a few months before he passed.

The Devil Nachshon very last work. This was the devil that took him away. Size: 62cmx 15cm

The Devil Nachshon very last work. This was the devil that took him away. Size: 62cmx 15cm

 

Nachshon never ever finished another piece of work. We found him unconscious on the floor of his home holding a piece of wood a hammer and chisel and a piece of sand-paper with wood chips around him. He was at that time working on a piece of wood 5cm thick. Holding on to them with dear love of his art.

The Very Last

Nachshon was holding on to this when we found him unconscious on the floor of his home. Size: 36cm x 22 cm thick 5cm

Nachshon was holding on to this when we found him unconscious on the floor of his home.
Size: 36cm x 22 cm thick 5cm

 

 Not finished and never will be. I often wonder what it would have been when finished. We will never know.

From the first day that Nachshon was diagnosed and until his very last breath, I was with him as much as he would let me, and that was nearly every day. We think we know our children but I am sorry to say we don’t. During this time that I spent with Nachshon I discovered so many qualities that I took for granted, but I was at least blessed to have had the opportunity to have discovered them. Nachshon was a companionate, loving, and a true artist at heart.  

   

During the last two and half months before Nachshon passed he lived in our home with my husband (not Nachshon’s father) and me. He kept reminding me “no hospital.” In accordance with his wishes, I promised him no hospitals and no life support, so I contacted the Sabar hospice palliative home care.  They were wonderful with Nachshon treating him with dignity and care. Not only did they help Nachshon but the support I received was a great help during that difficult time.  This is why I believe that was the only way we could grant Nachshon’s last wishes, no hospital no pain.

 

Nachshon left a will leaving all his art to me. After he passed I had to remove them all from his home. I found works stuffed in cupboards and drawers: sketches, oil paintings, heads, and so much more that no one ever knew existed. I have retrieved 1210 sketches, heads, pencil on MDF, pencil on Formica, collages and so much more.

As he engraved in Latin on a table he found in the bin and then renovated: In Somnis Veritas (In dreams there is truth).

Latin_table

Latin table that I gave as a present to Nachshon’s father after Nachshon passed.

I was the first to hear Nachshon take his first breath, I was the first to give him his first kiss, and the last to hear his final breath and to give him his very last kiss which sent him on his onward journey.

I know he would not have wanted me to sink into depression. “Ema, everything is OK, ”Ema ha kol bester, Ema kacha ze” as he always used to say. He paved the road for me. He left me with the greatest gift a mother could have: his love and his trust. Love is a given, but trust you have to earn. I earned his trust and that, in my opinion, is the true gift.

I have chosen to live to make sure that Nachshon’s memory lives on.

Some say I have been blessed and some may say I have been cursed.

Whatever you may think, I am at peace with myself, with Nachshon, in my heart with every breath until my last.

 This site I created and designed myself in Nachshon’s memory – I am sure he would have been proud.

 So as I mentioned on the front page of the site.

         Time to discover

           Nachshon Ofek

             21.05.1972 – 04.11.2014

              “An Artist to be discovered”

           May he rest in Peace

 Tamara Ofek-Bookman

Proudly Nachshon’s mother

You are  welcome to sign the Guest book.

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75 entries.
luba luba wrote on 04/04/2017 at 4:25 pm:
I really sympathize with you. Your son was a talented artist!
זהרה הראל זהרה הראל wrote on 27/03/2017 at 8:18 pm:
תבורכו על מפעלכם לזכר בנכם
רפי רפי wrote on 12/03/2017 at 2:59 pm:
יפה שאתם משמרים את הזיכרון של היצירה המיוחדת שלו , שלא תדעו צער ושיצירתו המיוחדת תפרוץ כנפיים ותגיע לקהל עצום
Eduard Eduard wrote on 27/02/2017 at 6:08 pm:
Artist
אלישע וולוצקי אלישע וולוצקי wrote on 20/02/2017 at 6:32 pm:
נחשון, בן של בן כיתתי ותמר חברתנו, בן כיתה של בתי. מוזר שאנשים צעירים כמוהוא כבר לא איתנו. תודה לתמר על האתר הנפלא שלימד אותי על האמנות היפה והמיוחדת שעשה. אלישע
Madalena Lobão-Tello Madalena Lobão-Tello wrote on 17/02/2017 at 5:56 pm:
So sorry about news. Historia artworks are fantastic. Rip
daniella talmor daniella talmor wrote on 15/02/2017 at 8:38 am:
Very good works, I am impressed.
Yael Yael wrote on 13/02/2017 at 5:39 pm:
Fascinating work.
Ido Ido wrote on 12/02/2017 at 5:47 pm:
nice!
yehuda atai yehuda atai wrote on 11/02/2017 at 11:08 am:
מקסים, נהדר
Nir Nir wrote on 11/02/2017 at 4:27 am:
Fascinating work. I'm sure his memory will live on through his creations.
yair aharon yair aharon wrote on 08/02/2017 at 8:02 pm:
love your work
Orion Hsu Orion Hsu wrote on 06/02/2017 at 4:32 am:
Nice!
Rahelly Cutting Ben Meir Rahelly Cutting Ben Meir wrote on 05/02/2017 at 10:43 pm:
It is very special to see Nachshon's work. What a diversity what wealth
nikki nikki wrote on 05/02/2017 at 7:27 pm:
I hope that you find some comfort in his legacy.
Matan Matan wrote on 01/02/2017 at 6:11 pm:
Great works, may he rest in peace
Vadim Rubinchik Vadim Rubinchik wrote on 01/02/2017 at 6:09 pm:
יהי זכרו ברוך
nir stern nir stern wrote on 31/01/2017 at 2:26 pm:
wonderful works. great talent. יהי זכרו ברוך
Nogue josep Nogue josep wrote on 30/01/2017 at 6:21 pm:
His memory will live through his art. Very noble and a gread honor to know his history from his memory. A big hug!!?
עמית טריינין עמית טריינין wrote on 30/01/2017 at 4:46 pm:
העבודות מרשימות ומגוונות. הפסלים בעץ נהדרים. מקסים ומרגש שיש כזה מנעד של עבודות .