“It is enough to raise the genre one centimetre above the ground to discover what marvels are concealed in it, what an enchanted light radiates from the various faces of the everyday, the ordinary, the banal”
Sasha Okun was born in 1949 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia. He now lives and works in Jerusalem, Israel. He trained at Solomon Levin, Pioneer Palace Studio, St. Petersberg (1960–65) and then Mukhina Higher Industrial Institute of Art, Leningrad, now St Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, Moscow (1966–72).
In the mid-1970s Okun was part of a group of young artists exhibiting in non-conformist art exhibitions in public parks and alternative spaces in Leningrad. During that period, Okun and other friends were arrested, detained and threatened on a number of occasions for not conforming with the government directives at that time. Eventually, feeling at odds with the socio-political climate, in 1979 Okun and his family left the Soviet Union and emigrated to Rome where he spent some months touring and studying Classical and Renaissance art.
Then, instead of emigrating to the United States like many Russian dissidents, the family moved to Israel where they have lived ever since. Alongside pursuing his own art practice, since 1986 Okun has also taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem. He has exhibited throughout Israel, Europe and America and is included in numerous important museum collections.
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Albertina, Vienna, Austria
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, St. Petersburg, Russia
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel
Negev Museum of Art, Be’er Sheva, Israel
Janco-Dada Museum, Ein Hod, Israel
Mishkan Le’Omanut Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel; Bar-David
Museum, Kibbutz Baram, Israel
Museum of Art, Vitebsk, Belarus and private collections in Israel, Russia, Poland, France, Italy, USA, Australia, Germany, Austria, Canada, and Mexico.
FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS
Ish Shalom Life Achievement Prize, 2014
Jefferson County Honorary Citizen, Kentucky, U.S.A. 1989
Cite International des Arts, Residence Fellowship, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cultural Exchange), 1987
Kentucky Colonel honorary title, Kentucky, U.S.A. 1989
Gestetner Fellowship, 1985
Ofer Feniger Award for a Young Artist, 1983