Musée d’art du Néguev de Beersheva (Israël). Collection Elisabeth & David Rouach.

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ISRAELVALLEY EXCLUSIF (Première Edition). Art islamique. Cette semaine une nouvelle exposition, dirigée par Sharon Laor-Shirak, a été inaugurée à Beersheva en présence de Ruvik Danilovich, Maire de la ville et de 180 personnes venant de Jérusalem, Tel-Aviv… IsraelValley a assisté à l’inauguration. L’exposition est magnifique et mérite amplement d’être visitée.

Ci-dessous le discours d’inauguration de David Rouach (1). Le texte du discours, traduit en hébreu, a été lu par Tal. Le Dr Robert Rouach a joué un rôle clé dans la création et mise en place de cette superbe exposition.

MUSEE. L’expo de la « Collection Elisabeth & David Rouach »,  est présentée par le musée d’art du Néguev, musée d’art situé dans la vieille ville de Be’er Sheva. Le bâtiment est l’ancien manoir du gouverneur, construit en 1906 par les Ottomans dans le cadre des édifices gouvernementaux qui comprennent le Seraya et la mosquée locale. (Adresse : Remez Garden, HaAtsmaut St 60, Be’er Sheva). Selon Times of Israel : « L’ancienne mosquée turque accueille le magnifique musée de l’islam et de l’Extrême Orient de la ville. On peut trouver disposés dans la cour du bâtiment des vestiges archéologiques qui rappellent la présence arabo-musulmane dans la région datant du VIIe au XIe siècles. Ces vestiges sont prêtés par l’Autorité israélienne des Antiquités ».

(1) Dr David Rouach. « Collecting is like hunting, in that not only you have pleasure from the objects you collect, but the actual pursuit in itself is satisfying. Every piece I have acquired has a tale to tell, and each acquisition has been the result of either a sudden passion or a slowly growing affection. I have rarely purchased an object which I did not like, or which did not interest me, however important it may have been, and my preferences and dislikes have naturally limited the range of my collection.

Why do people collect? Is it a mere old hunting instinct? Or does a collection give its owner a feeling of financial security with the accumulation of objectss? Or is it perhaps merely a way of investing money? It has also been suggested that many collectors are aiming for social recognition, since a fine collection can be a good ticket into the high society. Whatever the reasons, I think there are “born collectors” who would collect anything. I knew someone who, before he started his art collection, had the largest collection of stamps. My wife and daughter have been collecting perfume samples for years. I do not think either of them had investment in mind, nor were they wanting to enter into the higher circles of society! Maybe there is some truth in the hunting instinct theory after all!

My passion for Islamic Art began with jewellery. I first became aware of them at the age of six, when my grandfather Raphael a jeweller in Meknes Morocco told me not to step on one as I was walking. My uncle had a pair of silver fibulae and I learnt from him that it was an  accessory used to attach clothing and adornment. He was very fond of jewelery and a collector.

My wife Elisabeth has an excellent eye and her approach is instinctive. It takes her only a few seconds to assess the beauty of, for example a Ottoman  carpet and buy it. She loves the colours and has a wonderful flair for discovering pieces.

My love for Oriental manuscripts began at the then Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris where I saw a manuscript extract of the Shahname, a long epic poem written by Ferdowsi in 1000 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. It was this wonderful piece of art that prompted me to buy my first book about Persian manuscripts and visit museums, art galleries, and exhibitions.

My journey towards collecting the art of sub-Saharan Africa was less obvious as this art  lacked the vibrant palette of colors which drew me immediately to the other forms of art I was already interested in. I suppose my answer lays in the fact that I was interested in the African civilization. This vast region includes populations from the desert, from the Mediterranean and from the forests of the Gulf of Guinea. I believe that no collection of Islamic art can be complete without the rest of the Muslim world  in Africa, which was previously conquered and strongly influenced by the Islamic world. For example, Kuran manuscripts from Timbuktu, Mali dated from the 17th century which are presented in this exhibition. Another example are the pendant amulets from Tuareg tribes in Sub_Sahara, Mauritania which contain inside extracts of the Kuran. I have always regarded Islamic art as a unity.

I would like to thank Sharon Laor-Shirak for being instrumental in the organization of this  second exhibition. It is a culmination of a relationship I have had with the Be’er Sheva  Museum of islamic and near Eastern Cultures and its staff for over five years. It is my hope that through this exhibition, I can communicate and share with others my passion and interest of Islamic and African Art.

Finally, I would like to dedicate these lines to the memory of my parents who transmited me the love of Morocco and Moroccan art, and without them this collection would not have come into existence.

Photo copyrights. Le Musée de l’Islam et de l’Extrême-Orient est installé dans une ancienne mosquée de Beer Sheva. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

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