Art exhibition “A Little Bit of Everything” hosted by Messianic café in Tel-Aviv

The Messianic café in Tel-Aviv, “HaOgen” is hosting an art exhibition “A Little Bit of Everything” from November 2022 until March 2023. It is displaying nine beautiful pieces by Messianic artist Rolf Danielson, originally from Sweden.

Danielson visited Israel for the first time when he was 18, and came here often in the 1970s and 80s, studying art at the Avni Institute and exhibiting his works in the galleries of the Hasimta Theater and the Tzavta Theater. Even before he met his Israeli wife, Shoshana, and before he gave his life to Yeshua, he felt a natural belonging to Israel and a connection to the Jewish people.

Since 1991 he lives in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew. He lived with his wife in Sweden a few years before that, so Shoshana also speaks Swedish. They have two adult children.

Rolf Danielson speaking a the opening of “A Little Bit of Everything” art exhibition at HaOgen Coffee Bar in Tel Aviv (Photo courtesy)

His style is often abstract and colorful, and he draws his inspiration from God’s Word and modern art. The motifs that are prominent and repeated in his paintings are windows, trees, the world of nature and geometrical shapes inspired by the Hebrew square script. The windows are sometimes a gateway to nature and God’s creation, and sometimes a symbol of Daniel’s prayer life, who opened his window to Jerusalem three times a day. Other times, it is difficult to know whether it’s a window or a tablet of the covenant, or maybe both. The tree in his paintings symbolizes the Tree of Life, and in general, his paintings express wonder and thanksgiving to God for his creation.

This drawing, for example, is one of the drawings now on display in HaOgen. It’s called “Tabgha” and has a reference of Isaiah 58:11 – “The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

“Tabgha” by Rolf Danielson (Photo courtesy)

Danielson wrote the following in an explanatory note to the drawing: “This picture is of the Tabgha monastery on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, where they believe the bread and fish miracle occurred. In the Catholic mass they mention saints from the Christian history. One of them, especially, was not a saint, because he was an anti-Semite. A number of years ago, extremist Jews vandalized this monastery. I think we need a change. In that monastery’s library, there are two books that explain how this change can be done, and how their catholic service can be improved. The ‘Nostra Aetate’ from Rome and ‘The Rule of St. Benedict’ in Hebrew from Tel Gamliel.”

KNI spoke with Danielson and asked him about his general approach and thoughts about his work.

“Well, God is good. We know that. And he created us in his image,” he said. “And if I have his nature and spirit within me, and I am made in his image, then I can also create something. Something that can be a little bit beautiful. Maybe it can give joy to myself and someone else.”

His art has been exhibited in various galleries in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv in the past years. KNI interviewed him in 2017 when his paintings were displayed in the Jerusalem House of Quality gallery. In 2020, his art was displayed at Tel-Aviv University. In November 2022, he spoke at the festive opening event at HaOgen Coffee Bar, which also featured live music by well-known local Messianic artists.

“Some people believe we should not create an image of anything on earth or in heaven, based on the Torah. But that’s in the context of idol worship. We don’t worship my images, and it’s not a direct image,” Danielson shared. “It’s my fantasy of color and shape. Important to my artistic process is the need for joy, and the feeling of being a child of our heavenly Father, depending on Him for getting a result that satisfies my impression of what I have painted and expressed in the image.”

“Exodus 31:18” by Rolf Danielson (Photo courtesy)

HaOgen will display the paintings until March 2023. It is located on Frishman Street 43 in Tel-Aviv and is open Sunday through Thursday from 8 to 17, and on Fridays until 15.

To browse more of the artist’s work, click here.