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The Dennos Museum Center

Orna Ben-Ami: Entire Life in a Package

EXTENDED THRU may 19, 2019

Entire Life in a PackageOrna Ben-Ami was born in Israel in 1953. Joining the service at IDF in 1971, she became the first female military correspondent for the Army Radio station. Following her military service she was a reporter and news editor for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority radio station and enrolled at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she studied International Relations and History.

The transition from working with words to working with materials began when she started to learn gold and silversmith methods at the Jerusalem Technological Center. Between 1990 and 1992 she studied sculpture at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, and from there continued her studies in Art History at Tel Aviv University.


Entire Life in a Package is the story of millions of refugees with millions of packages, suitcases...sacks. “Life packages” that hold the desire to survive. In it, they pack both hopes and pains. Behind every package there is some­one looking for a place. The objects that people take, in one package, represent their identity and sense of belonging, their memories and hopes for the future.

Iron expresses the will to hold on strongly to the identity which the objects symbolize. It ren­ders them eternal and meaningful, like metal monuments. Iron brings out the physical and emotional weight of the journey. Orna Ben Ami softens the iron by cutting and welding it in her own hands, like we attempt to soften life, but the message remains charged both on the personal level and the collective. 

The combinations that Ben-Ami creates between the images taken by Reuters’ photographers and her iron sculptures, are the heart of this exhibition. “'Artists,' she says, 'have to donate their part, through their artistic skills, for designing a better future.'"