Born in Los Angeles of Syrian American descent, Morris Zagha spent the first ten years of his life in San Francisco before returning to Southern California. His early education was both secular and religious. He later began his creative journey as a photographer, studying at the University of California at Santa Cruz, before moving to painting in the late 1980s. Since 1994, following an artist's residency in Arad, Israel cosponsored by the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, Zagha has been exploring the myths and legends of Genesis, in an effort, he says, to understand "the relationship between our spiritual and physical selves, between the left hand of belief and the right hand of fact." Over the years, Zagha feels his work "has evolved from mechanical, systems-based imagery to a more spontaneous and intuited approach." Zagha studied at yeshiva in adolescence but grew disenchanted with official Judaism. When he returned to his heritage many years later, he was introduced to books on kabbala and Jewish mysticism. "Suddenly, the old stories no longer seemed distant and irrelevant," he says. "I began to ask new questions about physical and metaphysical interaction while at the same time bringing more emotional presence to my work." Like many younger Americans of Sephardi or Mizrahi descent, Zagha is just now beginning to articulate the connections between these "other" Jewish identities and his creative imagination.
Zagha's work has been featured in the L.A. Weekly, La Opinion, Jewish Journal, and the L.A. Times, and has been lauded in several group exhibits, on view at the University of Judaism, the Skirball Cultural Center, UCLA and other venues, in Los Angeles and the Knesset, in Israel.
please contact Ivri-NASAWI at (323) 650-3157.
Mother of Worlds
Eve the Curious
Joseph, Dreamer of Fates