Visitors who walk by the Suzanne and Charles Goodman Brain Sciences building on the Edmond J. Safra campus of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem will notice a statue by the late Boaz Vaadia, a world-renowned artist. This statue, titled Ahiam 2nd, makes most people stop and stare. The pose in Ahiam 2nd is contemplative and serene, creating an overall calm atmosphere, which Vaadia so often stated was an important goal.
Ahiam 2nd, completed in 2006, is an iconic sculpture for Vaadia. The figure is in a reclining pose that Vaadia revisited frequently in his art as early as 1985, when he first began sculpting. Vaadia later combined the same pose with a boulder when he moved to his studio in Williamsburg, New York.
Born in Gat Rimon in 1951, Boaz Vaadia moved to New York in 1975 to pursue a career as an artist. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2017 at the age of 65. While many of Vaadia’s pieces are installed in public places and galleries all over the world, there is something special about this one being installed in Jerusalem and at ELSC. Kim Vaadia, Boaz’s widow, said:
The installation of Boaz Vaadia’s Ahiam 2nd at ELSC, on the campus of Hebrew University, is important to me, as in a sense, Boaz has returned “home.” The roots of Vaadia’s family in Israel began in Jerusalem when, around 1870, Vaadia’s grandfather arrived from Bouhara, and continued with his father, Nissim Vaadia’s, birth in Jerusalem. Boaz often remarked how intertwined his homeland and artistic work are and how important this connection is, stating that growing up in Israel “profoundly shaped my artistic sensibility.” It is also lovely and apropos that Ahiam 2nd is installed at ELSC’s courtyard, the institution founded and directed by Boaz Vaadia’s cousin, neuroscientist and professor emeritus of ELSC, Eilon Vaadia.
Ahiam 2nd is located in a special garden at the northeast side of the Goodman Building. “It is an honor to receive this generous gift of precious art from the Vaadia family,” said Prof. Adi Mizrahi, the co-director of ELSC. “We also thank The Jerusalem Foundation for their generosity for choosing HUJI and ELSC as the location for the statue.”
Watch Boaz Vaadia talk about his work and what’s behind it:
Production credit of Grounds for Sculpture: Keith Pyatt.