Gad Almaliah

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Gad Almaliah
Gad Almaliah
1939, Jerusalem, Israel
2007, Boston, USA
Graphic Judaica Artist
1st Place in two Mexican Postal Service Stamp Competitions.
A graphic designer known for his stamp, medal and poster designs who served as President of the Israeli Graphic Designers Association.

Gad Almaliah designed awarding winning stamps, produced Judaica, and started two design studios. Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Gad Almaliah died in Boston in 2007.


[edit] Background

Gad Almaliah was born in Jerusalem in 1939 before the founding of the State of Israel. As a young man he became interested in graphics and in 1960 Gad began to collect Israeli posters. At the Bezalel Academy of Art, Almaliah specialized in graphics and graduated in 1965. He later went on to study in both the School of Visual Arts, New York and in Mexico at the Autonomous University of Mexico, where Almaliah graduated with an M. A. in communications.

[edit] Medals, Posters and Stamps

Gad Almaliah’s talents were recognized by the Israeli government and he began to design commemorative coins and medals. Almaliah designed the emblem for the Six Day War and in 1973 Gad was asked to design the medal commemorating the Yom Kippur War. Gad Almaliah also designed medals for the Mexican government.

With his deep interest in posters Almaliah, not surprisingly, began to design promotional posters advertising events like the ‘3000 years of Jerusalem’ celebration, ‘Jewish Arts Week’, Technology exhibitions etc. Gad Almaliah also designed postage stamps for Israel, Mexico and the United States postal services, winning two stamp design competitions in Mexico. One of his best known Israeli stamps was designed for the 150th anniversary of B'nai B'rith in 1994. His graphic talents earned him the respect of his colleagues and Gad Almaliah was President of the Israeli Graphic Designers Association for 15 years. In 1985 Almaliah organized the International Congress of Visual Communication which was held in Haifa.

[edit] Judaica

Gad Almaliah produced a range of Judaica, from easily accessible art prints and calligraphy to more personalized commissioned pieces for individuals and communities.

[edit] Ketubot

Gad Almaliah specialized in ketubot:-.i.e. Jewish Marriage Contracts. His simple ketubot were hand written in the traditional way on paper and decorated with watercolor designs according to the wishes of the couple concerned. Almaliah’s innovation for ketubot was to create them out metal, normally silver or copper, which he hand cut and embossed with the desired pattern. The metal design then acted as a frame for the beautifully calligraphed text, making it easy to display on the wall.

[edit] Ritual Objects

Other Judaica produced by Gad Almaliah included candlesticks, Seder plates, and other ritual objects like tzedakah (charity) boxes, menorahs and Sukkot decorations.

[edit] Commissions

Almaliah was often commissioned to produce Judaica items for Synagogues, like his "Wall of Blessing" – a 28 foot wall commemorating the Sephardic community of Mexico City.

[edit] Studios

In 1979 Gad Almaliah opened his own design studio in Tel Aviv, called the Creative Group. Later when he moved to Boston in the United States, Gad opened up another graphic design studio, called the Design Lab, where he worked until his death in January 2007.

[edit] Legacy

Gad Almaliah taught graphic design at the New York School of Visual Arts, and was a Professor at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology, producing several books on design. Gad’s last art works:- ‘Life on the Book’ consisted of a series of highly personal pieces - open constructed books, each individually framed inside a box, illustrating the theme of the survival of the Jewish people – the People of the Book. Almaliah also offered his personal collection of Israeli posters as part of a travelling educational exhibition. Gad Almaliah’s work is still available online and his Design Lab is now run by his wife Joan.

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