Artist: Lilianne Milgrom, USA
What struck me about parshat Ki Tavo was the fundamental necessity for balance in our lives and in our interconnected universe. The parsha talks about the ritual of bikurim, the receiving of the first fruits, the bounty of God, and the reciprocal commandment to give back from the first fruit.
It was this idea of giving and receiving (which is also a yoga ‘mudra’ in which one hand is open for receiving and the other held up in preparation for giving) which spoke to me deeply. In order to live in harmony with our fellow man (and woman) and with our God, there needs to be an inherent balance. The parasha also dwells on warnings and curses while reminding the Jewish people of their blessings – yet another type of duality which needs to be finely tuned.
The hands in the illustration are my hands and the fruit is a pomegranate (my family name Milgrom means pomegranate in Polish). I wanted the image to convey an ambiguity as to whether the hands were in the act of receiving or in the act of giving. The background was designed to give a sense of the Dawn of Time and the wonder of Nature which can produce a marvel such as the pomegranate.
In an attempt to find a medium which would not buckle the klaf, I chose to use colored pencil. I despaired of my choice half way through. It is a terribly exacting and time- consuming medium. However, the natural texture of the klaf ended up being very suitable for illustrating skin itself. I used fixative and other protective sprays which have given the klaf a mildly textured feel.
Lilianne Milgrom is an international artist and writer about the arts. Born in Paris, she grew up in Australia, lived in Israel for many years and now resides in Washington DC. Lilianne exhibits in museums and galleries around the world and her works can be found in both private and institutional collections. Liliannemilgrom.com