Joy Birds - Eretz Israel Museum

Joy Birds

Many cultures around the world have turned to birds to symbolize freedom, expanses, perseverance, and their particular set of values. Unlike songbirds, water-birds, or migrating birds – joy birds, which are positioned at the heart of an installation at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, live in the soul of man; awakening his creativity, delight, and optimism. During the last year, thousands of elderly citizens, in more than one hundred retirement communities around the country, have worked to fashion “Joy Birds”. Each community chose to create its own flock of joy birds, with its own personal and collective symbolism. The participants contributed from their experiences, feelings and personal stories to the collective effort. Together, they weaved a pulsating fabric of a population that dreamed, battled, established a home, built the nation and toiled, so that this land would prosper.

The installation presents us with a different facet of the elder generation as their contribution, talent, and perseverance sheds a different, more optimistic and joyous light on the process of aging. Parents and grandparents tell us their story from a bird’s eye view, and express in their art insights and a rich life experience; and the viewer? He is invited to walk among the birds, and choose the bird closest to his heart; the one symbolizing, the value that is most important for him, with which he will spread his own wings and take off to the sky.

“Joy Birds” follows in the footsteps of “Blossoming in Age”, the first installation exhibited in the museum, in 2014. It constitutes another chapter in the series of artist Shlomit Hepher’s social-art projects, which are founded on her idea that creativity knows no age or limit. “Joy Birds” presents us with further proof that all we need is the desire to fly on the wings of imagination.

The project is sponsored by The Mediterranean Towers – a chain of retirement communities