The artist Bracha Avigad Levy spent her childhood between the sand box and the garden, and flowers were a part of her life. Her father, a pharmacist by profession, shared with her the secret of medicinal herbs and the preparation of the tea. Her grandfather used to bring flowers to her table every morning and she observed closely how nature is transferred to the canvas in the paintings of Margot Kranz. Ties to the Land of Israel were present in her home though the blue box of the Jewish National Fund, into which coins were frequently placed toward the purchase of land and turning desert into forest.
In 1935 Bracha immigrated to Israel and she came to study art with the assistance of Henrietta Szold and the Youth Aliyah Movement. She studied art In Bezalel, under the scepter of Josef Budko, Mordecai Ardon and others. The botanist Dr. Hareuveni proposed that she sketch the flowers of the Land of Israel with scientific precision, and she refused. "I didn't think that it was for me, I thought I would choke in botany and my fate would be that of the flowers in front of me. I want to draw a live flower as I wish and as I see it – to transmit its beauty through my art".
Four years before she immigrated to Israel, in 1931, the Botanical Garden of the Hebrew University was founded on Mount Scopus as an ecological garden that combines plant and soil configurations. The Garden is a live Museum of the plants of the Land of Israel that changes in accordance with the seasons of the year. In the Garden there are archaeological findings such as the Nikanor Cave and the historic graves of Dr. Yehuda Leib Pinsker and Menachem Ussishkin, leading Zionists. The Garden is a "refuge" for rare plants that are in danger of extinction and it continues the orientation of preservation and protection of the plants of the land.
In the 1970's the Society for the Protection of Nature, began to educate the public not to pick, uproot or sell wild flowers. During that period, within the framework of a joint project of the Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Haifa, a series of six books were printed, illustrated by Bracha, that describe wild flowers in words and in drawings. When she began to draw, the artist would pray in her heart "that I will have the appropriate humility and wisdom in my hands to do my work faithfully".
Bracha Avigad Levy is rare in her love for nature and the Land of Israel. She produced a magnificent collection of over 150 wonderful water color paintings that describe the beauty of wild flowers in Israel. There is no composition more appropriate and amazing for Bracha Avigad Levy’s paintings and the Botanical Garden , that preservation of nature, awareness of nature and the love of nature is common in both.
Our appreciation is granted to Bracha Avigad Levy for her donation of the collection of her paintings to the Botanical Garden on Mount Scopus.
Technical assistance: Dr. Meni Neuman, Manager of the Garden, Yaara Hacohen Plesser, Agronomist and the team of the Botanical Garden
The Exhibit was made possible through the assistance of the University Management and the Botanical Garden.