Visitors to the Edmond J. Safra campus of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem who walk by the Goodman Brain Sciences building will notice a statue by the world-renowned artist, the late Boaz Vaadia. This figure, titled Ahiam 2nd, will make most people stop and stare at this representation of humanity. The pose in Ahiam 2nd is contemplative and serene, creating an overall calm atmosphere, which Vaadia so often stated was an important goal. It is recommended to visit Ahiam 2nd in the middle of a hectic day at the office or the lab. Who knows, maybe his serenity will rub off on his visitors.
Ahiam 2nd is an iconic sculpture for Boaz Vaadia, and perhaps one of his most seminal. The figure in Ahiam 2nd is in a reclining pose that Vaadia revisited frequently, starting in 1985 when he first began figurative work in the style for which he is internationally known. Vaadia later combined the same figural pose with a boulder, such as exists in Ahiam 2nd, when he moved to his Williamsburg, Brooklyn studio. Ahiam 2nd was completed in 2006.
Boaz Vaadia was an Israeli-American artist who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2017 at the age of 65. He was born and raised in an agricultural village called Gat Rimon, located in the center of Israel, and moved to New York City to pursue his career as an artist in 1975. While his figures 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, no less, as Kim Vaadia, Boaz’s wife, states:
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 at a special plot in a garden at the North-East side of the Suzanne and Charles Goodman Brain Sciences building. “It is an honor to receive this generous gift of precious art from the Vaadia family”, said ELSC’s co-director Prof. Adi Mizrahi. “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
Eilon Vaadia, co-founder and professor emeritus at ELSC, with Michal Mor, Hebrew University’s curator, on the day of installation.