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Boaz Vaadia

(American/Israeli, 1951-2017)

Boaz Vaadia was an Israeli-American sculptor born in Gat Rimon, Israel in 1951. Vaadia grew up on a farm which instilled his love for the land, and by age 12 he decided that he wanted to become a sculptor. Skipping high school, he enrolled directly into the Avni Institute of Art and Design in Jaffa at age 14.

Vaadia was drafted into the Israeli army in 1969, joining the engineering unit. When on leave, he acted as a volunteer to restore ancient stonework at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He worked with Palestinian stonemasons and blacksmiths who taught him how to handle local stones. Vaadia left the army in 1970 and moved to New York City five years later to study at the Pratt Institute on scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

Once in New York, Vaadia found that human connection to the land exists in the metropolis in a new form. In Israel, Vaadia had been inspired by local stone in rural landscapes, and in New York City he found inspiration in the bluestone used to construct the city’s streets. He created constraints for his stone sculptures, deciding that in order to respect the natural integrity of the material each piece must be able to support itself with nothing other than gravity. Vaadia’s work centres around the concepts of nature’s interplay with structure, balance, and gravity.

Vaadia’s achievements include grants from the Committee for the Visual Arts (New York), the Ariana Foundation (New York), and the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington D.C.). His awards include the Utsukuhi-ga-hara Open Air Museum Award, he America-Israel Cultural Foundation’s Aviv Award, and the Russian Heritage Month Award. He died in 2017 at the age of 65.

Boaz Vaadia