Dagan Shklovsky is a man with a mission. For the next 50 years,
at an average of one per year, Dagan is planning to turn basalt stone into
“touch me statues”. As he goes through the different stages, starting with
bringing the stones to his site on Kibbutz Ein Carmel, Dagan uses only hand
tools — no heavy machinery. His set of drills, chisels, hammers and hand-polishing
tools is used to give each stone its own individual soul.
Dagan’s mission is to give
people a good feeling, to bring joy to the world, particularly in these years
of intifada. He listens to the stone he is working on to discover its inner
voice and what the stone needs to become. “That bird on the figure’s head
came popping out as I sculpted. It could not be denied.”
Dagan, a former student of computer science at The Technion, dropped out
of university 12 years ago, when his own inner voice led him to sculpting.
Self-taught, but mentored by sculptor Mordechai Kafri, Dagan’s images hark
back to the “far past” from places around the world.
He was lucky, he tells us
on a recent visit to Dagan’s sculpture park/work area, in that he found his
way in life already at the age of 26. He knew then that his sculptures needed
to be born from the basalt rock of Emeq Yizrael. The rest of his life got
a late start, and it is only now, at the age of 37, that his first child,
a girl, was born. Kibbutz Ein-Carmel enables Dagan to live his dream. He
and his family live on the kibbutz. Three days a week, he is the kibbutz
electrician, and three days a week he turns stone into art.
“There is magic in bringing
the stones to life. There are no preconditions when I start a new sculpture.
I listen to the stone.”
As we were leaving, we noticed a stone quite unlike the others. Dagan answered
our silent question. “That is a gravestone for the son of friends. He was
killed by a bullet to the forehead in the terrorist attack in Afula two years
ago. He was 23 years old.”
Photos: Michele Kaplan-Green
Text: Judith Isaacson