An interview with artist Malka Nedivi

Malka Nedivi’s solo show MOTHER and DAUGHTER opens August 9th 3-5pm at the National Council of Jewish Women in Los Angeles.  She was so gracious to take time out of her busy installation schedule to answer a few questions for us.

In the studio, photo by Eric Minh Swenson
In the studio, photo by Eric Minh Swenson



“Mother and Daughter”, your upcoming solo show focuses on your relationship with your mother. Tell us about her. Why this exhibition now ?

My entire body of work including sculpture, painting and film making is inspired by my mother, by her unknown past as a Holocaust survivor.

I think she was a real artist.

Since she passed away she is all the time with me in my studio.

And while doing my art I also think about myself as a mother and about my relationship with my kids.


Single Woman, detail
Single Woman, detail


Tell us about your film “Tzipora’s Nest.” It is a powerful, dramatic story where you use the camera as a tool to uncover your relationship with your mother. How did the film begin and what are your plans for it now that it is complete?

I was a film editor who was always looking for a subject to direct my own documentary.

When life brought me back to Israel to take care of my sick mom. I realized that there was no need to look that far. I had to talk about my mother and our complicated relationship.

Making the film helped me learn about my mom. I was able to help and support her, forgive her and fall in love with her.

Because the film is so personal and sensitive I had a tough time showing it outside my close circle.

After hearing from many people who watched the film how it helped them with their relationship with their own parents including some who were also Holocaust survivor parents, I am now very motivated to get the film out to the world.

And this is part of my mission for next year.




You have talked about a ‘lost’ childhood that you are still uncovering. Did you know you were an artist as a child?

I did not know I was an artist when I was a child but I loved art. Mainly theater. I wanted to be an actress. But I also took painting classes and always got compliments for doing well in art.


Did you to go to art school? Where did you get your artistic training?

I studied theater in Jerusalem at University. And film in UCLA. Art I learned on my own by allowing myself to express without restrictions.

I learned techniques by working with artists I met and admired and by watching every documentary about artists I loved that I could put my hands on.

Most important, through the process of making the film it freed me to not be afraid to express my inner feelings and thoughts.


Studio shot
Studio shot, photo by Eric Minh Swenson


Do you remember the first time you realized you had a gift for art (and filmmaking)?

Growing up I thought I had a crazy imagination and maybe I am crazy. Or wired. Like my mom.

I tried to be normal

But as I got older and after many hours of good therapy I realized I am an artist


How would you describe your artistic style?

I see myself as a painter. Sculpture. Collage artist …

Expressive. Figurative – abstract .

Not a specific style

I try to develop, As I work.




What can you tell us about other influences? For example, have you been influenced by a specific art instructor or period of art history?

I am influenced from being a second generation Holocaust surviver.

And By my parent’s unknown past


What motivates you as an artist?

To express the strong emotions that I carry inside me.

It is a desire that is difficult to explain with words



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