President Rivlin's bust
President Rivlin's bustHaim Tzach/GPO

The bust of Israel’s tenth president, Reuven Rivlin, was installed in the Avenue of the Presidents in the gardens of Beit HaNasi (the President's Residence) at the end of his term of office this week. The bust, the work of Sigalit Landau, a multi-disciplinary artist who works in installations, video, photography and sculpture is in brass and was created from a wax mold into which the metal was poured. Sigalit graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in 1994.

On the plaque affixed to the marble column on which the bust stands, there is a quote from the president: “In the house of my father and mother I breathed the spirit of humanity. I imbibed Jewish tradition, Jabotinskyite hadar and tagar, but more than anything I learned to listen. I learned to respect the belief of the other, and I learned to acknowledge their pain. At home, learned that without the ability to listen – there is no ability to learn. Without the ability to learn – there is no ability to repair.”

The president thanked Sigalit for her artistry, saying “Sigalit Landau is a remarkable and world-renowned artist. Nechama described her work to me in detail, such as the installation of watermelons at the Dead Sea, and the bridal gown made of salt exhibited at the Tower of David. I can only express my pride that I have had the privilege of having my face made by her hands. Thank you, Sigalit, for being so gentle, kind and good-humored during the creative process.”

Sigalit Landau: “Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of being a sculptor, of being a craftsperson with an official commission to capture someone’s personality in physical material. To immortalize the face of President Reuven Rivlin in an official portrait.” Sigalit talked about the creative process, saying, ”at the beginning, we met at Beit HaNasi and with my partner Yotam Faroum, we photographed the president’s face and shoulders from several angles. After that, armed with sketches and prints of the photos, I went to my welding table, as usual. That is where I start all my sculptures. Using an initial mold, I began to sculpt the bust in more detail with wax and after quite a long period of work, we came to Jerusalem to look at the result in its context in the garden. I enjoyed getting to know the president and his team up close. I enjoyed the challenging process. I am an expressionist sculptor without much experience in portraiture, but without abandoning my own language of sculpture, I created a bust that has something of the joy of life and the radiant and cheerful personality of the outgoing president, Mr. Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin.”