“For three decades I have felt within me the deep need to express to the world the unique and exceptional service that these everyday heroes go through,” said Maj.-Gen. Chen Winkler, an artist and sculptor.
When most people think about the IDF, they think about those serving their three-year mandatory service. The recognition and appreciation for those reservists who drop everything to go and defend Israel is not as widespread.
As of today there are almost half a million active reservists serving in the IDF, making up 70% of all IDF forces. In the past year reservists served a total of 1,800,000 days. As opposed to those serving their mandatory three-year service, the reserves can be called at any time, tearing them away from their business, families and homes.
Chen Winkler, an artist and sculptor who served for 30 years as a major-general in the IDF reserves, has prepared an unprecedented appreciatory exhibit to convey his gratitude for the exceptional service of all IDF reservists.
“The immense physical and emotional effort required to leave everything behind and switch into military mode is a complicated matter that many reservists shoulder with a characteristic sense of duty,” said Ari Singer,Chief General of the Reserves. “I’ve had soldiers and high ranking commanders serving with me that have stopped their work all over the world when war breaks out here, buy themselves a ticket and put on the olive uniform to defend the homeland. Chen’s exacting artistic sense has truly portrayed the trials and tribulations, the friendship and camaraderie of the sometimes underappreciated, humble, yet vital service of the reservist.”
‘A Dream Come True’
Asked about the inspiration for the current exhibit, Chen explained:
“For three decades I have felt within me the deep need to express to the world the unique and exceptional service that these everyday heroes go through. The turbulence that each reservist experiences when switching back and forth between service and military life is an experience that can only receive its full expression within art. The opportunity to fuse these two worlds of art and the IDF is a dream come true. This gallery is the culmination of years of artistic contemplation how best to portray to the wider populace the true, human visage of these unique and unsung heroes.”
The exhibit, in collaboration with the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Chief General of the Reserves at the famed Amiad Gallery in the Jaffa Marketplace, will be open to the public free of charge April 4-28. Chen’s breathtaking works of art include the particularly outstanding “APC and Helicopter – Command Day,” In which a life-size APC and a metal helicopter hanging from the ceiling take center stage. Another exceptional sculpture is the “Salute to the Lone Soldier,” a seven-foot statue dedicated to the exceptional service and sacrifice of the Lone Soldier.
“As a commander of countless Lone Soldiers throughout the decades, I have come to fully appreciate their circumstances” Chen said. In fact, 10 percent of all proceeds of the event will be donated to the ACHAI foundation that gives lone soldiers a home and integrates them into the workforce post-service.
For those looking to take part in the inauguration of the exhibit and be partners in thanking the IDF reserves for their exceptional service on behalf of the Jewish People, a campaign page has been launched.
“I have started this campaign with the knowledge that I am not alone in my desire to convey the immense gratitude for the citizens who suit up to defend Israel at the drop of a helmet. I know that countless others feel as indebted as I am to these defenders and their vigilance that plays a vital role in the safety of the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and the entire world,” Chen said.