Yoma was born in 1936 in Tel Aviv and moved to Gdera in the seventies, living and creating there, as a hobby actually, ever since.
He collects car parts, iron scraps, rubber wheels, wood, stone, everything that suits his fancy and incites his creativity.
From these materials he fabricates astonishing pieces of art. It seems to me, that Yoma does not care if anyone likes what he does, if he can sell it, where to exhibit it, what will be its purpose - he just creates, obsessively, soulfully and wholeheartedly. From everything he can get his hands on he will shape some visionary image flowing out of his endless imagination - for me this is one very strong indication of a true artist.
His play ground and his display ground is his court yard, the garden around his house. This is an open air museum par excellence and here he works and creates. It rains on it, dust and leaves and pine needles settle on it, rust is nibbling on the pieces, it does not bother him. All his skills he taught himself, he is an autodidact, who started his marvelous pastime around 40 years ago and he still goes on. The sculpture garden is open to the public, free of charge at all hours of the day. If you are lucky, Yoma will come out and have a chat with you, he has an outgoing vivid and nice personality, humor blinking in his eyes.
The thematic of his art is very versatile. Characterful faces stare at you, witches scare you, all kinds of animals are strewn over the place, sheep and insects and turtles and snakes and birds and fish and alligators and lizards. Symbols of the Holocaust and of Judaism are present. His ingenious creations deal with sex life and birth, death and torture. They are original and often mystic. He has a favor for shoes and hats. Iron flowers are everywhere. Many of his images are funny, like the bras and lingerie, and a Lederhose, and the spider witch flying on a broom.
There are hundreds of figures, your eyes keep rolling and rolling around. Faces carved out of stone inflict their presence on you, sculls prick your soul. You gasp at the quantity, you wonder and smile as you grasp the imagination that is going on here and the huge amount of work involved - this man lives on a full storage of ideas, the muse never seems to leave him - this accumulated mass of artistic creations is just incredible and really worth a visit!
All photographs taken by Uri Eshkar.