“Multitudes” – Messianic Art Displayed in a Tel Aviv Gallery

Visitors at the "Multitudes" exhibit in Tel Aviv

Art has the power to build bridges, tell stories and to reach a broad audience. This is proving true for the exhibition of paintings by the artist Steffi Geiser Rubin. The Multitudes exhibition opened on September 1, at the Art Market Gallery in Tel Aviv’s Port, displaying her paintings based on the Gospel of Matthew.

In the opinion of many, the Gospel of Matthew is the most Jewish of the New Testament gospels, and this truth has inspired Rubin, a Messianic Jewish artist. Her acrylic on canvas art includes the depiction of the miracle feeding of the 5000 near the Sea of Galilee. It was from this painting that the name of the entire series i.e. Multitudes came from and this picture has been the focal point of the exhibition.

The exhibition is being run by Jews for Jesus staff in collaboration with Johanan Herson, who curates the Art Market Gallery. According to the Jews for Jesus Israel Director, Dan Sered, “the paintings have been on display in different locations since June”. They were on show at Immanuel Church in Jaffa, during Houses from Within, a project run by the city of Tel Aviv for locals to look in to the history of the city’s buildings.

"Multitudes" by Steffi Rubin
“Multitudes” by Steffi Rubin

However the most important event of the fall was the opening night of the exhibition in Tel Aviv Port, which took place on September 1 in “Art Market” Gallery. Dan says that a large crowd attended: “Most visitors were well-to-do non-Believers who are residents of North Tel Aviv, probably art-lovers – an audience that we often do not reach. Believers from around the country also came to the opening night, and so we had many new opportunities to talk about the Gospel”.

According to Dan there were some good conversations, and the atmosphere was excellent. He went on to say, “Maybe because of the fact that we entered the world of the visitors of the exhibition i.e. art, the conversations were more open. It’s not that people were kneeling on their knees on the spot and accepting Jesus, but I think we presented a challenge, and we hope that they will at least read the Gospel of Matthew.”

Multitudes has already been on display in San Francisco, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Florida. It will appear at Beit Eliyahu in Haifa at the end of September, and hopefully at Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem in December for Christmas; when as it turns out many Israelis visit as part of the internal tourism scene. As of January 2017, the exhibition is scheduled to be hosted in Paris, Berlin and London. Dan Sered extends an invitation to the congregations in the country to host the exhibition Multitudes in October and November.

Jews for Jesus has published a Fine Art Coffee Table Book named for the exhibition. It is a 72-page hardcover collection of the exhibition including the Gospel of Matthew. All the paintings are based directly on the text of the Gospel, but also connect to different facets and other images, in order to interpret the text in Matthew and emphasize the Jewish context of the New Testament account. Each chapter of Matthew is associated with one of 20 original paintings or one of 8 vignettes. The text within this book includes the entire Gospel of Matthew in the Tree of Life (TLV) version of the Bible.

The book is available for purchase at the exhibition and in bookstores and is available in Hebrew, English, and French. It will soon also be available in Russian.

The artist herself could not attend the exhibition for personal reasons, but Dan Sered hopes she can come to Israel soon.

2016-09-02-PHOTO-00001859More about the artist:

Steffi Geiser Rubin was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She has worked in the field of Graphic Design and set up the company in “Now You See It Graphics”. The artist drew a collection of watercolor paintings based on black and white images, on the life in Europe before World War II. She also illustrated “Between the shadows”, a book of poetry written by the late Herman Taube, a Holocaust survivor. In 2014, she created paintings based on the Gospel of Matthew for the “Multitudes” book, which quotes and references the Bible. The result was not only a book, but went on to be an exhibition of 20 paintings in various sizes. Steffi now lives in North Carolina, where she is working to complete her project about the Book of Genesis.

“Multitudes” is being exhibited at “Art Market” Gallery, HaTa’arucha Street in Tel Aviv, from 1 to 11 September, 2016.

Opening hours: SundayThursday: 09:00-19:00; Fridays:09:00-14:00

Entrance is free

For more information visit the exhibition’s Facebook page or official website.

Below is a short clip on Israel’s Channel 10 News (in Hebrew with English subtitles) about the exhibition.

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Rachel (Rachely) Scapa, studied journalism at the Open University TLV under Yedioth Aharonoth's journalist Dudi Goldman. Rachel served as news correspondent for various radio stations abroad, including BBC 3 Counties and Voice of America, both in English and Portuguese, giving the best reports from Israel. Currently she has two radio shows - one in Portuguese, which she has had for more than 13 years, presenting News from Israel and the ME. In the other, in Hebrew, she presents Brazilian music, on an Israeli radio station. Rachely is also a columnist for a Christian newspaper in Brazil, distributed over the triple border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.