In the tradition of the poet William Blake, who with his wife, Catherine, created illustrated bound texts, Anat Propper Goldenberg has published Meeting Place, which combines art reproductions on special paper with bilingual texts in a beautiful small volume. The artist invited ten writers —five female and five male — whose work she considers “close to my heart” to her studio to choose one of her artworks in order to write about it.
Propper Goldenberg is a “social-ecological activist”, an Ecological-Art pioneer who promotes and develops programs on environmental awareness through art and theater. Her paintings are stylistically very different from one another. The poems and prose works relating to them differ accordingly.
One example is “Meeting Point,” a short poem by Maurits Polak, which captures the moment in time and space that Goldenberg had envisioned: “Meeting point/On the barriers of wisdom/On the edge of time to exchange/Greeting point/In the areas/Of flowering skills/On the verge of thoughts to rearrange.”
Another entry, a vignette by Ari Libsker, “Coca Cola,” recounts a bizarre encounter in which the writer, on a business trip to Ghana, refuses sexual favors from a sixteen year-old Ghanaianaian who offers herself in exchange for the cans of soda that she wants. The painting relating to it is a three-part fold-out filled with African figures and the words “Al Tishchaku Oti” (Don’t forget me).
Yet this book is greater than the sum of its parts. The beautifully reproduced art on fine glossy paper fold-outs, the paper cuts separating the writers’ contributions, the embossed cover, and gilt leaf margins make this volume a sensually pleasing physical object. Neither the art nor the literary works in Meeting Place reference any Jewish connection so one must be content with ascribing to it an ethnic Israeli /Hebrew voice.