An interview with Gili Eshel PDF Print E-mail

An interview with Gili Eshel, the head of the community environment sculpture workshop during the project „Workspace for Young Artists” in Krzyżowa

What did your workshop look like in Krzyżowa ?

I was the head of one of several workshops during the project "Workspace for Young Artists". The main goal of my workshop was to build an installation on the playground of the foundation with the participants of this project-children from Romania, Poland and Germany. The topic of our workshop was „reduce, reuse, recycle”, also known as the 3Rs. The idea of the workshop was based on the idea of recycling waste. Thus, we worked mostly with old tires, old plastic and other rubbish.

Why did you choose tires as a material for making sculptures?
In Israel, the country I come from, I used to build many sculptures with tires, because this is a material widely available and usually not recycled or reused. Tires are also a very good material for children, as well as groups of people, to work with, because they are not heavy, easy to cut and can be formed into any shape. I also created a sculpture out of tires for several other reasons: I wanted to educate the children about recycling and reusing waste and, most importantly for me, focus on community work.

Is it your first time in Poland? What was your impression?
Yes, it's my first time in Poland. As you know, Israel does not have so much greenery, due to its very high temperatures. However, the climate in Poland is completely different. When I came here, I was greeted by rain and cold weather. This also surprised me, as well as the very lush landscapes Poland has.

Where can we see your work?
I mostly create sculptures and organize workshops in Israel. This was the first time one of my sculptures was built in Europe.

How does the whole process of creating a sculpture in your workshops look like?
There are several steps to create sculptures. At the beginning, we collect all the necessary materials such as tires, plastic bottles, waste. Along with the participants, we create a preliminary design. In the next step we cut the tires, locate the setting, and find the attachment to the land as is described in the draft. Thirdly, the inside tire is filled with collected waste and concrete. When the concrete is hard enough, we cover the sculpture with a special iron mesh. Then, the structure may be covered by hands with concrete. The entire structure must be covered with several layers before it can be polished and painted by the project participants. The last phase is waxing, which makes the sculpture resistant to external conditions.

What is your profession, what do you do in Israel?
I'm an art and art-history teacher. About eight years ago, I decided to start my own business called „environmental sculpture workshops”. I am the head of this entrepreneurship and hold workshops all around Israel.

Which one of your sculptures do you feel most proud of?
I don't have any favorite sculpture. But there are some workshops that I remember very well. The first of these are the workshops that I conducted in eight Israeli prisons. One prison was an institution of higher stringency, as most of the prisoners were addicted to drugs. That's where I conducted a very interesting workshop, where the prisoners created a model of scenes from the life of a prisoner prior to his imprisonment. It was a very emotional project for me. This year in May, I collaborated with a family whose five-year old daughter died. The family asked me to create a design in honor of the dead child. We built a monkey sculpture, which was the favorite pet of the deceased girl.

How did you like Krzyżowa?
First of all, before I came here, it took me a while to learn how to pronounce the name Krzyżowa. So my first impression was that you have a very difficult language. After the arrival to Krzyżowa, I noticed that this is a very beautiful and above all has a lot of green meadows. I also can't fail to mention that I was impressed by this Foundation, its cultural openness, and how friendly the people are who live and work here.