“Commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Jewish Arts Collaborative, ‘Ziv’ (‘splendor’ in Hebrew) evokes designs from ancient ceramic oil lamps, highlighting the earthly yet supernatural miracle of one day’s quantity of oil lasting eight full days.”
Born in Texas of Iraqi/Israeli background, Ariel Basson Freiberg has a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College. She has had multiple solo and group shows, including exhibitions at Howard Yezerski Gallery, Samson Projects, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Tufts Art Gallery, Danforth Museum, and the Art Center of Macedonia.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has commissioned her for various projects and her work is reviewed in ARTnews and The Boston Globe. While an artist-in-residence in 2019 at MASS MoCA, she collaborated with dancers at Jacob’s Pillow. This year, “Hellbent,” a solo exhibition exploring the biblical narrative of Salome, was at the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis University, where she is a professor and coordinator of the post-baccalaureate studio art program.
Visit Ariel’s portfolio site and follow her on Instagram @rosebud_af.
How does your connection to Jewish community influence your art?
The Jewish community is a source of inspiration, from the festivities of the holidays shared together—virtually and in-person—to the vibrant artists, writers, musicians, and scholars who help flourish Jewish culture into the present tense.
Finish this thought: In order to create, I need…
A bit of time to let my mind wander and something—like a pencil or a chunk of charcoal—to scratch at a piece of paper. The connection between the mind to the hand is a big part of making for me. Often, a conversation with a good friend or my family can spark inspiration for a creative act.
What’s your next artistic project or challenge?
Currently, I am making a series of dinner table paintings exploring a visual feast of food and cuisine reflecting my family’s Jewish Iraqi heritage. Some of these paintings are negotiating the multi layers of cuisine, such as Iraqi Jewish food being influenced heavily by the Ottoman Empire and trade along the Silk Road.
Learn more about CJP’s arts and culture initiative.