McCartney shows support for Israel's museums

The photographer shares snippets of her life with guests at BFAMI event


Photographer Mary McCartney has spoken movingly about how her late mother, the photographer and animal rights activist, Linda McCartney, inspired her career.

Mary, 53, said that it had been Linda, the first wife of Paul McCartney, who had given her “the joy of photography”.

At an event in London to raise funds for BFAMI (British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel), McCartney reminisced about how she first “fell in love” with photography as an art form. In conversation with River Caféowner Ruth Rogers, McCartney said that when she was five, her mother had taken her to a darkroom in Soho and the young McCartney had watched as an image had “magically” appeared on a piece of paper in a tray.

But it was only later that she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps. McCartney, who also makes documentaries, wittily recalled: “I was looking through [my friend’s] holiday snaps and they were so awful that I ended up phoning my mum and saying: ‘I’m going to become a photographer.’”

BFAMI chair Pamela Crystal told the 185 guests that museums in Israel served as “important cultural and social hubs to bring the community together”.

Supporting a variety of cultural and educational activities across 14 museums, BFAMI’s work aims to aid at-risk women, teenagers and Holocaust survivors in their local communities.

Amid high levels of domestic abuse in Israel, BFAMI has launched programmes to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children. Crystal said that Covid-19 had worsened their situation and “unfortunately, for these women, their lockdown hell continues.”

Another BFAMI-supported programme at Design Museum Holon has allowed Holocaust survivors to share stories of the suffering and horror they experienced with their grandchildren. Crystal said that the initiative “enabled these children to become the future voice of a dying generation”.

At the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, BFAMI has previously funded accessible exhibitions for visitors on the autistic spectrum, allowing them to have “meaningful and enriching experiences”, said Crystal.

Speaking to the JC after the event, Crystal said: "It was an absolute privilege and joy to honour Mary McCartney at this year's 'Women in Art' BFAMI lunch."

"We were delighted to welcome so many new and regular supporters and are excited about our autumn programme of art and cultural events and trips."

Guests at the lunch included former BBC creative director Alan Yentob and Lady Jillian Ritblat, arts patron and barrister. In total, £85,000 was raised - £30,000 more than at the last "Women in Art" event.

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