“Bamboo for me has always symbolized magic, elegance, strength, serenity, simplicity and flexibility - qualities I wish for all of us to have.” - Anat Heifetz
A familiar and pervasive sight in the Philippine landscape, bamboo is not a presence that turns heads around. But in Anat Heifetz’ exhibit at Ayala Museum, Bamboo Road: Tel Aviv – Manila, the unassuming tropical plant is transformed into striking art pieces that dare you not to do a double take.
Anat Heifetz, a Manila-based Israeli artist, has been drawn to bamboo for several years now. What started as a fascination turned into an exhibition concept after continuous encouragement from friends and family after seeing Anat’s initial bamboo pieces.
A fashion designer by trade, Anat was struck by how much bamboo resembled fabric rolls. She envisioned painting different patterns and designs on the bamboo stalks to replicate the look of textiles. Eventually, Anat worked with wood carvers in Paete to add another layer to her concept, incorporating multiple styles and techniques gained from her experience as a designer and an artist. The result is a fascinating array of bamboos of all shapes and designs.
Anat wanted to create art that fused together her background in fashion, her love for bamboo, and her two homes: Tel Aviv and Manila. Thus, Bamboo Road: Tel Aviv – Manila was conceptualized, showcasing not just her love for the craft but also showing how art can assist in bridging two cultures.
An expression of the deep connection Anat has for Manila and Israel can be seen in the show’s centerpiece: the Sawali. For Anat, it is the union of two cultures: the wall of a traditional Philippine hut in the design of a traditional kilim carpet which hung on the wall of her childhood home in Israel.
Anat has spent many years as a fashion designer for several international brands after completing her undergraduate degree in Shenkar College and graduate studies in Tel Aviv University. Soon after, she decided to branch out on her own and create her own line with her own designs. Through her travels in fashion, Anat grew particularly fond of Southeast Asia before deciding in 2015 to relocate to the Philippines with her family.