The curator of the Kibbutz Be’eri art gallery, which was destroyed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, has said that creativity can be “a tool that turns pain into hope”.
Sofie Berzon Mackie said: “We can defy the death and violence that has destroyed our past with this beautiful tool we have — a tool that turns pain into hope. The tool of creation. We can begin to heal and light the way back home.”
Berzon Mackie, who was speaking at a London auction held by the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel (BFAMI), called on guests to join her in “nurturing life where it has been destroyed”.
The kibbutz was one of the worst hit communities on October 7, with 118 of its residents murdered or kidnapped by Hamas. One in five of the adults living on the community were killed, said Berzon Mackie.
The kibbutz’s art gallery, which opened 37 years ago and had exhibited some of the country’s most renowned artists, was burnt to the ground by the terrorists.
The £500,000 raised from the “Beacon of Light” auction, held in conjunction with Sotheby’s at the Dorchester, will go towards rebuilding the gallery and supporting emergency relief educational and art therapy programmes run by 14 art museums across Israel.
Pamela Crystal, who co-chaired the event with art collector and philanthropist Poju Zabludowicz, said that art acted as “a shield for the soul, for the community, for society”.
The auction was both live and silent, featuring works by Pablo Picasso, Ron Arad RA and BFAMI honouree Jenny Saville RA, among others. There was also artwork by Kibbutz Be’eri survivor, Haran Kislev, whose solo exhibition, Kibbutz Anxiety, is currently showing at the Mishkan Museum of Art in Ein Harod.
Award-winning Israeli singer and actress Miri Mesika performed, and the live auction was conducted by Helena Newman, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and worldwide head of impressionist and modern art.