'Legacy' marble sculpture by Nazarian
'Legacy' marble sculpture by NazarianIsrael news photo: Univ. of Haifa

A new tribute to the Jews who sailed to Israel’s shores as “illegal immigrants” during the British Mandate period was unveiled Tuesday at the campus of the University of Haifa.

The marble sculpture, entitled “Legacy,” was designed by artist Soraya Nazarian, wife of Iranian-American Jewish businessman Younis Nazarian.

The piece depicts a boat bedecked with sails that appear to be stacks of books, representing the story of the Jews who arrived in Israel on the decks of the illegal immigrant ships.  The work symbolizes the strength, courage, and vulnerability with which the Jews of the early 20th century immigrated to Israel, according to the artist.

The grayish-white marble stone used to create the piece is intended to represent the ground, while the books symbolize the knowledge, culture and history of the Jewish People. All were essential components in building the ability of the immigrants to start a new life in the Land of Israel.

Sculptress Nazarian, who began carving stone towards the end of the 1980’s, exhibits other works in Israel in Jerusalem’s Academy of Music and Dance, as well as in Sapir College in Sderot.