My name is Mally Elbaz Almandine. Almandin is a purple gem, which has been an inspiration to my creativity and worldview. For me, it symbolizes a natural, basic foundation that reflects both the fieldstones that I played with as a child and the milestones in our lives. My work consists of tiny stones, atom like, particles that crystallize into molecules, into cells from which the whole process of creation is born. The choice of materials, technique, images and composition are born from the laborious work of marking the circles of stones. Itis a slow, repetitive, ceremonial marking that conjures up complex childhood memories.
I was born in Israel, in the city of Afula, to parents who immigrated from Yemen. My grandfather and father were sewing and embroidery craftsmen in Sanaa, Yemen. My father used to sew wool and sheepskin sweaters for the king in Yemen. Before his death, my father taught me the traditional Yemenite embroidery.
As a child in a family of eight, whose parents worked for a living, my grandmother was a dominant figure
in my life. Twice a day I used to go out to graze herd of sheep with her. The cultivated fields of the Jezreel Valley, the colorful landscape, the width of the sky, the wild plants and the animals were an intriguing space for me to explore, play and socialize. These memories are translated into images from the natural world, that serve as a visual and emotional language in my work: branches that turn into dolls, leaves of eucalyptus trees that resemble a blanket, a land that became my first “canvas", on which I engraved dry twigs.
The stones are the basis for my childhood memories in my works, but also for the distortion and dissolution of these memories. The tiny stone chains create misleading, shaky lines in the works, which unify the uniform picture of the world and expose it as a disjointed painting. Like a biography composed of pieces of life rather than a single movement of time, my images are a collection of complex moments that are formed and broken apart in one act. This dynamic, which characterizes my work, creates a sense of liberation but at the same time of chaos, freedom and disturbance. This is the tension that underpins my work, which has been internationally recognized and presented in exhibitions around the world.
My artistic language is influenced by my cultural, material and psychological roots. My work manifests experiencing in a variety of material technologies -from traditional embroidery to oil painting. From the traditional repertoire, I adopt colorful and colorful motifs of folklore, and process them freely as an expression of memory, dream, or a picture of a horrifying imagination. The decorative expression is a manifestation of an abundant colorfulness flooding a skeptical, double perspective of a woman-child.
My work is a reflective research and self-discovery, partly unconscious and partly self-conscious. I use loose fabrics, not stretched ones, as used in sewing or embroidery crafts. The painting begins on its own,