Nir Slav was born in 1979 in Afula, Israel, to a loving family, but medical negligence left him with cerebral palsy and deafness. Despite his disabilities, at the age of 15 he was exposed to the world of art as a tool for self-expression and social integration. His apprenticeship as a painter spanned several stages, all of which took place outside of customary institutions, via personal work with various artists, including the late painter Avraham Farhi and sculptor Zvi Lachman.
For the past several years, Nir has been working with artist David Boskovitch, who is both a friend and a colleague to Nir.
“Nir is a free bird, a bird with a broken wing that soars, looks ahead, loves and bestows compassion.”
As an artist, he simultaneously battles against severe physical disabilities that affect his hand-eye coordination, eye-canvas coordination and perception of perspective, as well as against barriers that his disabilities pose to his daily connection with the world. With each new work of art he faces a technical and mental task of vast dimensions, as though encountered for the first time. His starting point is always concrete, and from there he branches out to the symbolic. His work process begins with “disgorging on the canvas”, making a spontaneous and unbridled sketch. Afterwards, he begins to assemble the painting, as it emerges from the sketch until the image or idea reaches a refined state. Some of his materials are conventional: oil paints, acrylics and charcoal. Others are gathered in the field – wooden boards, newspaper clippings, printed photographs from the Internet, boxes and tin. The topics that occupy him emanate from his inner world and personal experiences, fused with guidance and conversations with people around him.
When he just began his journey, Nir said of himself:
“…When I paint, I feel that a present is born, I am creating nature. I have difficulties because of my hand where I cannot do all sorts of things in the painting itself, but when I paint, I feel that I grow, I feel that I am doing fine…”
Among the series that he previously presented are: