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Nechemia Azaz

Nechemia Azaz commonly known as NH Azaz, was an Israeli sculptor and was born in Berlin. From a very young age he exhibited an inclination toward art but his parents did not approve of it which is why he began studying art only after he joined the British Army in Europe from 1941 to 1945. In 1947, he took off to Amsterdam to learn stained glassmaking after he had worked as an apprentice to stonemasons in Bologna the previous year. He then studies at the AcadÈmie de la Grande ChaumiËre in Paris from 1949 to 1950.

He then returned to Israel serving as an Israeli Army Officer where he was enthused by the lovely abstract of the Negev desert. He married Yaffa in 1954 and left for Holland the following year to study ceramic chemistry after which he worked in London. His work was showcased for the very first time at the Wakefield Art Gallery in 1955 which received numerous compliments.

He then opened a pottery school at the Harsa ceramics factory after settling down in Beersheva in 1956. In 1958, he received his first and most important order of creating a large tiled fresco of a newspaper rolling off the press, for the Evening News Offices in Tel Aviv. He also created a huge double-sided wall of concrete for Tel Avivís Sheraton Hotel in 1960.

In 1962, Azaz received his very first American order of producing a pair of iron doors for a synagogue museum in Greater Chicago, which included a religious poem inscribed in Hebrew. Chicagoís Loop Synagogue mounted his Hands of Peace that outlined a pair of raised hands which bore the words of the priestly blessing in Hebrew and English and was made of bronze, over their main entrance in 1963.

The same year, he travelled to England to create stained glass windows for Carmel Collegeís new Synagogue as promised to the founding headmaster, Kopul Rosen who unpredictably passed away in 1962. From 1963 to 1965, Azaz settled with his family in Wallingford and produced a variety of artwork for the synagogue. Nicholas Pevsner, an architectural historian, regarded Azaz's window work as brilliant and innovative. The synagogue was considered a grade II listed building after the school closed down in 1999.

In 1965, Azaz started creating 117 stained glass windows for the Marble Arch Synagogue after he completed the silver and bronze ark doors along with a bronze chandelier for the Belfastís new synagogue. The stained glass windows were finally completed in 1982. The Jewish festivals that were depicted on the glass were easier to see because Azaz used sections that were framed in lead.

In 1972, Israel's current US ambassador, Yitzhak Rabin asked Azaz to design an artwork that showcased the 43 musical instruments mentioned in the Bible, for the Israel Hall at the Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. NZ Azazís astounding artworks can be found in numerous synagogues, hotels, offices and schools across Israel, UK and America including the visually portable figurines at St. Thomasís Hospital in London and the Warwick Arts Centre.


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Nechemia Azaz

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