Ody Saban was born in Istanbul of Sephardic Jewish parents who had been relatively wealthy before World War II. But their property, like that of all Jews, was confiscated in 1941. Saban's parents divorced when she was 5 years old. Her mother remarried a well-known Moslem miniature and china restorer, who also was a musician and poet, and this man greatly influenced Saban's artistic development. She was 15 when her father died and the shock of it is still with her today.
In 1969, she went to live on a kibbutz in Israel. She completed a course in art education in Haifa, but found she could not teach art to children in an academic manner. Furthermore, she didn't believe that art could be taught at all. She moved to Paris in 1977, organized two groups of self-taught female artists, and began exhibiting her own art. Although her work displays a tough and aggressive stream-of-consciousness outpouring, it is ultimately life-affirming. Her fascination with Subcomandante Marcos of Mexico's Zapatista National Liberation Army, who turned from guns and hand grenades to poems and manifestos, as well as more hoped for peace treaties, like a Jewish-Arab union, mark her as an artist with high ideals.
"To me it seems that in myself, the woken dreams, spontaneous imagination, and semi-controlled hallucinations have developed rather than lessened with age. I continue to practice my childhood games almost constantly, and more intensely, but in a visual and interiorized manner."
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