Mamila, Jerusalem’s most boutique shopping mall has many attractions for the discerning shopper: One of these attractions is exquisite art. The Holy City is bursting with creativity, and these particular shops make a point of gathering all the best and most original art under one roof. Here are some places to get you started.
A Guide to Art Stores in Mamila
“Chaya” showcases the work of a breathtakingly wide range of Israeli artists, who are all different from one another except in their postmodern sensibility. Traditional Jewish menorahs are verdant compositions of flowers, trees and people in vivid colors. Egyptian-style statues with a modern off-center look grace the rear of the store, gazing at customers over the shoulder of the cashier. Traditional Judaica items are subverted by unconventional art techniques. Everything in the store has been crafted by hand.
Opened by three artists who are dedicated to locally produced art, “R&G” is a rich gallery of some of the best artwork in the country. The paintings are mostly modern art using very vivid colors, and many of them depict Biblical or Jewish themes. Also on display are works of three-dimensional art, complex creations that consist of many interlocking images united by a single theme. Front and center of the shop are the ambitious sculptures of Israeli artist Yael Shalev, in bronze and clay.
Israeli jewelry designer Irit Goffer Sasson is an international sensation, with stores in all parts of the globe. In “Amaro,” you have an opportunity to buy Sasson’s exotic, lavish costume jewelry in its country of origin. Pieces vary in style from sleekly modern to ornately antique. Most eye-catching is an elaborate gold-plated tiara comprised of interlocking flowers and butterflies, for a romantic Midsummer Night’s Dream effect. For a more subtle yet equally glamorous effect, there’s a more delicate tiara wrought of crystals and pearls.
And then there’s “A Room of Your Own,” where simply browsing their captivating selection is part of the fun. The shop’s passionate owner, Ruthie, has made it her mission to seek out the hidden gems of local art throughout the country—with a focus on lesser-known names of outstanding skill—and to give these artists a platform for their works to be seen. In consequence, every item in the boutique has been carefully chosen, from the elegant vintage-style fashions to the jewelry that has been handcrafted by top art school graduates. To Ruthie, buying and selling are secondary considerations to the pleasure of appreciating beautiful things. But for a gift that has no duplicate anywhere else, Room of Your Own is the ideal destination.