GINA: Exploring the Home of Naïve Art in Tel Aviv

Rachel Braun

The world is as we want to see it – the trick of the naïve artist is to easily convince the audience of a sure-fire happiness, complemented by fairy-tale scenery. A spoonful of ‘fabulousness’ gives an audience a sense of elevation, creates a theatrical composition and moves many viewers to empathize with and admire the artwork. We explore the home of Naïve Art in Israel.

Gallery of International Naive Art

The charm of Naïve Art attracts many patrons, primarily through its ability to simply touch the deepest points of our hearts and souls. Despite its popularity, Naïve Art doesn’t have an academic or theoretical definition. Naïve Art is characterized as the technique of refreshing an innocent, idealistic point of view on everyday life, via a charming use of bright colors and a child-like perspective. When exposed to Naïve Art paintings, we are often reminded of our childhood, perceiving the world in strong contrasts and glowing colors.

Dan Chill – the founder and the collector

The home of Naïve art in Israel is the Tel Aviv based Gallery of International Naive Art – GINA. Most galleries tend to deal with artist locally but GINA has opted to take a unique approach – it is the only gallery in the world that seeks, gathers and exhibits paintings of Naïve artists from all over the globe.

Maria Laura Bratoz, Where is that Movie? 2007, acrylic on canvas, Argentina

The gallery’s collection is the fruit of 25 years worth of effort by its founder and owner – Mr. Dan Chill. Mr. Chill researched the subject and established direct connections with the artists during his travels all over the world. 12 years ago, GINA started with 70 artists from 10 countries. Nowadays, the gallery’s collection encompasses more than 1000 paintings by 200 artists from 33 countries, from most of the continents of the world. The gallery exhibits the work of artists such as Maria Laura Bratoz (Argentina), Sharon Ascherl (USA), Nira Lev (Israel) and America Perez (El Salvador) – the latter only 19 years old, but already producing great pieces.

Nira Lev, Not Piano… I Want Ballet 2010, acrylic on canvas, Israel

Some of the artists were encountered and discovered in very remote and impoverished places, oblivious to their own talent and influence on people. In certain situations, GINA’s involvement, support, maintenance and even the provision of supplies (paint, canvases and brushes) allowed artists to realize the fruits of their creativity. With GINA, rather than abandon their craft to make a living, the artists allow the world to enjoy their work. With every effort the gallery’s vision comes true – to reveal talented from mostly self-taught artists (young and old) and afford them an environment in which they can create.

Celso Zamora, Serenading the Workers, 2014, oil on canvas, Nicaragua

Thanks to GINA, we can enjoy the work of Celso Zamora, a Nicaraguan artist. Found in a remote village, with no access to decent transportation or even basic facilities, not to mention the extreme temperatures and humidity – his environment is harsh. However, Celso’s paintings depict an idealistic reflection of everyday activities. Some might say his art is reminiscent of famous pieces by Henri Rousseau – with roaming, exotic jungles. The fantastic atmosphere of a Nicaraguan village creates a vibration of wavy lines and a very peculiar mystical flavor (built on a combination of contrasting, slightly muted colors).

America Perez, Our Village Fair, 2014, acrylic on canvas, El Salvador
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