Artist News Shira Zelwer

Shira Zelwer awarded The Shiff Prize for Figurative Realist Art

Flower Arrangement (Event), 2020, Wax, wire, acrylic paint, epoxy and marble table.
Photo credit: Shay Ben Efraim

As the 2021 recipient of the prize, Shira will hold a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. For the first time since its establishment in 2008, the prize is awarded to a sculptor.

Over 80 artists applied this year for the Shiff Prize, the selection has been commend by the Jury: “It is a renewal and a stretch of the boundaries of the award, which has been given to artists in the field of painting and drawing for 14 years, it is a proposal for a broader view of figurative-realistic work in another medium.”


Zelwer sculpts with raw wax, constantly exploring new ways to manipulate it. An organic compound that is lipophilic and malleable near ambient temperatures, petroleum wax possesses near human qualities. Wax decays with time and rising temperatures. Wax is as transparent as skin, and, although a dead matter, is as vulnerable as life. Once shaped, Zelwer paints it with acrylic, the painting process brings the sculptures to life. Zelwer pays much attention to minute details, but deliberately falls short of perfection.

Her subject matters are often “antiheroes”, when confronted to Zelwer’s works, the viewer is instantly drawn to the detailed craftsmanship and forced to focus their attention to subjects otherwise neglected.

Zelwer often uses personal memories as a starting point. Her tedious and almost Sisyphean sculpting process stretches those punctual memories through time and space. The resulting effect allows the viewer to revisit their own often similar memories, in a radically different perspective.

About the Haim Shiff Prize

The Haim Shiff Prize for Figurative Realist Art, sponsored by Dubi Shiff and named after his father, is awarded annually by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Established in 2008, it aims to encourage this genre of painting in contemporary art, and to increase its visibility in the Israeli art scene. It includes a monetary prize and a solo exhibition at the museum, accompanied by a catalogue.

Read more about the award


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