Svetlana Prakhina | Masa Israel

Svetlana Prakhina
participant year: 
My life before the program was quite routine and “adult.” A lot of work, responsibilities and other boundaries. I wanted to get away from it as far as possible, I longed for freedom, traveling, vivid emotions, new people. I definitely wanted to learn and improve personally and professionally (I’m a designer).
When I arrived in Israel it took me some time to fully appreciate the program I had chosen although I read about it a lot beforehand. In 3-4 months I understood that at that time I was simply not ready to shift from crazy rhythm of life in Moscow to surprisingly peaceful conditions dictated by the program.
In time I learned to appreciate the time from a different perspective. It turned out that despite being overly busy one can manage to get enough sleep, learn (even do homework), travel, visit different exhibitions and museums, simply stroll the pier and gaze upon the sea, meet new friends and even “do nothing.”
Hebrew gradually gave in with a variable success, but still a success. The final test result, 91 of 100, points showed that it wasn’t so bad. I liked the language, it gets right to your brain and sometimes I even tried to think in Hebrew. :)
The topic of art was discussed countless times within and out of the program’s framework. We sincerely reached out for it, wanted to know if, for instance, in the future we looked at Shagal’s work we could tell: “Oh, I know it’s Israeli art.”
Some people stopped at that level--I however was interested to get deeper, think wider. Israel is indeed a young country--my grandmother is in fact 1.5 times older--therefore it’s hard to tell what is “Israeli” and what comes from neighboring Arab countries or countries far away, but thanks to millions of olim it turns into an exploding mix of eastern and European cultures. I was delighted and motivated to reflect on those subjects, look for cultural intersection points.
The program has taught me to take my time differently, to have enough time to think and to feel and to make decisions.
Upon my arrival I couldn’t make up my mind what course to take until the last moment. One day, all the teachers came to us and presented all courses: photography, installations, Judaica. Originally I planned photography, but I lost my camera before the departure, and it became impossible to engage in photography on the level I wanted without it.
Installations appeared to me as something mystical and unpractical. I’m a designer who’s occupied with some real projects intended for further usage by real people, so I finally chose Judaica.
My tutor was Misha Ghilichinsky, a graduate of Bezalel (my dream!). I liked our meetings, they were full of searching and discussion. We didn’t just make metal, didn’t know for a long time what it would turn into. First we read articles of the text and discuss it, shared impressions and experiences.
It was new and uncommon for me. How to make something that’s already made? How to invent a bicycle when it’s already there? When you say the word “goblet” and it’s already clear what it’s supposed to be like, it’s the most difficult to take up a job that’s already been done before you by millions of others.
Thanks to Misha I managed to get over it and began to make my own “bicycle.” It was a kind of a crucial moment, very fresh and impressive to see how a new object is born, to complement to it, to think over every little thing.
In the end the goblet was finished and presented as a gift to one wonderful woman and is now a part of her collection in Frankfurt.
This is a program for creative people, for those who feel some kind of delicate resonance with the world of wonders, because here is the perfect place to fully enjoy the time and contemplation of that world. A wonderful geographical position, great conditions and young teachers--it’s really important. I’m almost 28 and I’m glad that I was there.
I do not regret a single day because every day was special.