Painter, Calligrapher, Sculptor, Designer, Printmaker, Book Creator and Author. These are some of the titles that describe Ya’akov Boussidan whose works have been acquired by The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and as well as displayed across the world in private collections (Dame Miriam Lane-Rothschild, patrions of the arts G. Bloch, S. Corob, E. Jesselson), synagogues, city centers, museums and the presidential library in Jerusalem.
Among his many awards, Boussidan received the Jesselson Prize of Judaica from the Israel Museum and an honorary prize at the Biennale in Monte Carlo.
Many of Boussidan’s creations represent his love for the City of Jerusalem. His connection to the ancient city began in his earliest years when reciting the 2000-year-old prayer of a people longing to return home. This divine yearning has led Boussidan to where he is today.
Ya’akov Boussidan was born in Port Said, Egypt in 1939, on the verge of the Second World War.
His mother, Mazal Cohen, an accomplished seamstress for the affluent and later an acknowledged sculptor, was born and raised in Cairo and her first marriage was to an European Jew, John (Yonah) Goldenber. Ya’akov was born into a multicultural society which was the essence of the Jewish People in Egypt. There he developed a love of language and culture from a very young age and a particular passion for Hebrew, and a love for Israel that resonated deep within him. As evidenced in his work, Boussidan’s spirit seems directed like a magnetic force towards the enigmatic Jerusalem.
Arriving in Israel at an early age, together with his mother and her second husband Moshe Boussidan, living in tin huts and trying to find his bearings, Boussidan found himself in Kibbutz Givat Chayim as part of the Youth Aliyah program. There, his talent was discovered by Prof.
Reuven Feuerstein z”l, the former chief psychologist of the program and winner of the Israel Prize for Education. Prof. Feuerstein helped connect Boussidan with those who would educate him in the arts. Boussidan began his artistic training in Israel under the guidance of Prof. Joseph Schwartzmann, a distinguished student of Käthe Kollwitz. Additionally, Boussidan studied sculpture and ceramics with Rudi Lehmann and Hedwig Grossman and received important exposure to the modern and abstract streams through his collaboration with Shlomo Vitkin.
With the encouragement of Prof. Willem Sandberg (former head of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and one of the founders of the Israel Museum), twenty-seven-year-old Boussidan won the Rothschild Foundation Scholarship which enabled him to continue his academic studiesat Goldsmith’s College in London, where he graduated with distinction for his abstract version of Song of Songs.
In his celebrated book Jerusalem – Names in Praise, Boussidan writes ‘When I draw… The image is a result of my partnership with time and space.’ This explanation describes his relationship with Jerusalem which transcends reason as it is in his essence. Boussidan’s acclaimed book was launched at the Israel Museum in 2006, and at the British Parliament in London in 2007 hosted by the Member of Parliament, Dame Louise Ellman. This livre d’artiste was presented to Pope Benedictus XVI, the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the former President of Israel Yitzhak Navon, the former United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, the former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat and most recently to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.