I have known Gitl for just about a year and in that time have been completely bowled over by her understanding of how to communicate without words.
She radiates an impulse, an urge, almost a passionate need to communicate. She is full of new ideas, almost in a rush to make up for lost time.
To me, the extraordinary thing is not how she is producing all these wonderful works of art now, in the second half of her life, but how she kept them within herself for so long until they burst forth and are still bursting. We may be meeting tonight in North London but there seems no doubt that she is destined for a truly international career. (more…)
The Jewish sculptor and photographer Gitl Braun, pictured, has chosen what at first sight is an unlikely location for her forthcoming exhibition, Eve’s Daughters, in east London next month. It’s going to be at the Jagonari Women’s Educational Resource Centre in Whitechapel Road, more usually used by local Bengali women. But Braun, a mother of eight from Stamford Hill and wife of the Hebrew novelist Marton Braun, believes her work illustrates similarities between the Bengali and Jewish immigrant experiences in the East End. The Haifa-born daughter of Holocaust survivors took up art only 10 years ago but graduated from Central St Martins college of art last year with distinction.
The New York-based critic Morgan Falconer, who is a frequent contributor to The Times (London), Modern Painters and ArtReview, as well as being one of Saatchi Online’s regular New York correspondents, selects 10 artists registered on Saatchi Online – a very mixed international group, some of whom prove that, paradoxically, sculpture can easily vie with painting, even when it’s reduced to two dimensions.
In her fifties, a Hasidic Londoner becomes an artist
By Jude Stewart
Two years ago, at the age of fifty-six, Gitl Braun graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Within a year, one of her works – described by the Times of London as “enormously moving” – was being shown as part of a British Library exhibition. No small feat for someone who has spent her entire adult life in London’s cloistered ultra-Orthodox community. Born in 1950 in Israel to two Hungarian Holocaust survivors, Braun grew up in poverty; her parents’ failing health obliged them to send her to an orphanage as a toddler. At eighteen she joined Marton Braun, a rabbinical scholar (and later advertising executive), in an arranged marriage. The couple moved to London in 1973, where they ultimately raised eight children in the Hasidic enclave of Stamford Hill. In 2001, after attending an art class with her daughter Elky, now a painter, Braun enrolled at Central Saint Martins.