A powerful blend of theatre and sculpture will capture the essence of motherhood in an innovative installation as part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale this autumn.

On September 30th, Alana Ruben Free will premiere Presence=Present and then invite her audience to participate in this immersive performance art experience.

Picture a mother and her child seated in a 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 metre ‘egg’, sharing presence: two minutes of uninterrupted time together, in the middle of a busy day in a busy city, to tell each other, “I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I appreciate your presence in my life.”

This intensely meaningful moment will happen over and over again in the centre of Jerusalem during Presence=Present, within the exhibit “The Art of Motherhood” – one of nine exhibits selected to participate in the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale.

A collaboration between world-renowned Israeli painter and sculptor David Gerstein and former North American, now Israel-based, theatre artist Alana Ruben Free, Presence=Present is a unique meeting of performance, sculpture and architecture. Alana’s prior collaborator, Istanbul’s Burak Pekoglu assisted with the architectural plans.

According to Alana, the work is inspired by her belief that the greatest ‘present’ we can give to each other is two minutes of our presence. And with a bit of humour, she recalls how many times she asked her son as a child to give her “just two minutes,” thus this exhibit starts with Alana giving her (now college-age) son her full presence for two minutes, and will close giving two minutes to her mother.

Canadian-born Alana is the author of the Beginner at Life theatre trilogy which has been performed – originally by herself – in New York and subsequently by other actors in Australia, Italy, Israel and Canada. Alana was a co-founder and central force in literary journal The Mom Egg as well as prominently involved in Mamapalooza festivals in New York.

“In our technologically complex world with continual distractions, alienation and loneliness are common conditions,” says Alana. “Like my plays, Presence=Present is committed to growing the bonds of intimacy between individuals, and connecting people more deeply with their rich, interior world. All of my work seeks to create transformative experiences that catalyze spiritual and emotional growth. I see Presence=Present as the end of one cycle of my work and the natural beginning of the next cycle.”

David Gerstein, born in Jerusalem, is one of Israel’s most internationally recognized artists with his indoor and outdoor colourful, layered images and large sculptures. He is represented by galleries all over the world. The two artists came together through their shared interest in breaking down the barriers between a work of art and its audience. Ruben Free approached Gerstein knowing of his reputation as a prolific sculptor in Israel, and Gerstein was intrigued by her idea of uniting sculpture and performance to build intimate relationships.

The Jerusalem Biennale is a stage for professional artists, creating today, who refer in their work, in one way or the other, to the Jewish World of Content. Presence=Present, dedicated in memory of Beth Medjuck, will be featured in the exhibit “The Art of Motherhood” (Ima Iyla’a) at Hechal Shlomo, in central Jerusalem at 58 King George Street from September 24 to November 5, 2015. Alana will initiate performances beginning on September 30 at 7 pm. Please see her website for a detailed schedule of hours of performances throughout the Biennale.For more information, visit  |  |   Media: for interviews, images, artist details or more information, contact Alana Ruben Free