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Maya Gelfman (born 1978, Israel) is a multidisciplinary artist, working at the seam between painting, installation and street-art.

A graduate of Shenkar College of Art & Design, in 2006, she’s since had eight solo exhibitions. The Ninth will open on October 20th, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. Gelfman has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. Among others, at the Israel National Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Haifa Museum of Art, The National Gallery in Bangkok, Art Rooms Art Fair in London, Art Basel Miami, Tama University of Art in Tokyo and in the Smithsonian and the National Cathedral, Washington D.C. USA (As a part of By of the People Art Festival).


Her works were featured in the media, both in print and online, as well as in films and on TV. They were published in four art books: in Germany, France, Colombia, U.S.A and England. In 2013 Gelfman gave a TEDx talk about her artistic process, sharing the stage with Tel Aviv’s prominent women leaders.


​She’s also a well-known street-artist. Her unique technique of drawing on walls with tangible materials (yarn, foam, duct-tape) is her signature.
In 2015 Paper Magazine named her among the top ten street-artists in Israel. Back in 2009 Gelfman co-founded a street-art project called Mind the Heart!, with her partner, Roie Avidan. Since then it reached over 100 cities across 5 continents.

In 2017 Gelfman & Avidan embarked on The Serendipity Experiment - a 365/24/7 performance in public.

Their premise was to accept the unknown as an artistic tool by relinquishing control. The duo donated their belongings, left their home to a foreign country, and invited strangers to dictate their route, schedule, and next encounters. At every location that they were sent to, they created a site-specific work. The experiment was planned for one year but ended up lasting four, spanning 60,000 miles across 47 states in the U.S.

To find out more about Mind the Heart! Project.


Artist statement

I am a multidisciplinary artist, working with painting, installation, and street-art.
My work investigates different facets of trauma, whose impact is heartbreakingly omnipresent in our culture, both on an individual level,

as well as systemically. Through my work I explore a foundational query: Can traumatic events also serve as beneficial catalysts,

gateways to profound realizations having to do with power and choice?


Confrontations with trauma are woven throughout my personal history. As a child, I lived through a near-death experience

while undergoing heart surgery. Experiencing that visceral connection between life and death informed the realization that opposing forces can,

and often do, co-exist. In the context of my work, it initiated an inquisitorial approach to contradictions and inspired an artistic-somatic practice. 


I believe external forces shape inner landscapes and my practice is grounded in symbiotic relationships that initially appear contradictory: dichotomies such as beauty that encompasses crudeness and weakness as a source of strength. These fuel my own search for agency,

on the path to find balance and release. My work is mixed-media not just in its choice of materials but also conceptually, drawing upon theoretical thought and automatism, ancient mythology, and contemporary culture.

Symbiosis also facilitated the decision to work in two parallel fields – the ‘white cubes’ and the public spaces. In both arenas, the works are handmade, tactile, and aware of their space. In the streets, they’re created as a performative action, reacting to a specific location and point in time. In the studio, the canvas is laid on the floor and the marks are intrinsically connected to the body’s movement.


Breakdown of series:

The early Paintings ("Red Heart", 2007/8 and 2009) are naïve drawings of bodies and situations, subtle yet disturbing. Minimalist figures floating
in white spaces. With time, layers appear ("Illusions & Reality", 2010-2012 and 2013), representing the struggle to resolve past, present and future.

In these years I practiced a slow Sisyphean process, in which I was working for months on each piece. 

Then a change took place, and my practice shifted into a dance-like rituals. ("Release", 2014-2016). These paintings were done in one continuous session. Each session took between a day to three days of working continuously. 


The Serendipity Experiment 2017-2021

Between 2017 to 2021 I was immersed in an experimental performance. Together with my partner I traveled across the USA, over 100,000 km (60,000 miles), creating site-specific works in public spaces, on a daily basis. 

Living on the road for four years (of which two in the pandemic), all the while dedicating myself to “the unknown” as a guiding tool, herald a big shift in my artistic practice. It changed the way I perceive stability, home, possessions, necessity. It altered the way I live and, subsequently, create.

The Unimaginable Horizon 2022-2023

My return to the studio in late 2021, uncovered the tantalizing realization that this journey of serendipity that I’d embarked on, fundamentally changed my work. Inspirations and techniques that I had previously relied on now felt rusty, irrelevant. I couldn’t just pick up from where I left off, but rather, had to allow the full breadth of my experiences to manifest directly onto the canvas. The new works don’t rely on external references, but instead turn their gaze inward. Without an apparent anchor in the literal or representational world, an uninhibited creativity was unleashed. So far, I’ve painted fifty paintings, intuitive works that represent a form of cartography–to places within and without, familiar and unknown– they are maps to blocked paths and new roads.


CV & Resume

Born in 1978, Israel

2001-2006, graduated with a BA from Shenkar College

Mediums: Painting, Installation, Street-art

Website: / Email:

Solo Exhibitions


The Unimaginable Horizon, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz


Form, Re-Form, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz


Outside looking in, National Art Gallery, Bangkok, Curator: Rattapong


Split Ends, Tel Aviv Artist House. Curator: Raz Samira


Spark, Zadik Gallery, Jaffa, curator: Hana Coman

Process, Tel Aviv City Municipality Arts and Culture division, curator: Maayan Nevo


Rise!, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya, curator: Maya Kashevitz

Heartbeats, Weiss House, Tel Aviv, curators: Vera Pilpoul and Hagit Burnstein


Strings, Artists House, Tel Aviv, curator: Orly Hoffman

Group Exhibitions


Metamorphosis: The Place of the Past in the Present, CITYarts, Orlando, FL, USA


ARTROOMS, Meliá White House, London England

Radical Love, Crypt Gallery, London England


Wire/less Connections, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Vitrinart, The Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv

Grand Opening, Milu Gallery Hotel, Florence Italy


Stories the Streets tell, The Israeli Children’s Museum, Holon

Hamekarer, The Old Wholesale Marketplace, Tel Aviv

S2G, kulturkueche, Monchengladbach

Presence, Tirosh Gallery, Tel Aviv

Temporary Crew, St.Art Gallery, Tel Aviv


Slideluck III, Tel Aviv

Launching Meshuna, Meshuna Gallery, Tel Aviv


Testing Tools Festival #10, Beit Tami, Tel Aviv

Note to Selves, Container, Jaffa port

7F, 7th Floor, Tel Aviv

Base Colors #2, Israel-Lebanon border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases


Heroes in Distress, Art Basel, Miami, Overture/Scope art fair

Once I was a House, art event, Caesarea
Small Scale - 20\20, Zadik Gallery, Tel Aviv

Creation Cycle, Hangar 2, Jaffa Port

Free Art Friday, Tel Aviv

Spring Festival, Shapira Neighbourhood, Tel Aviv

Base Colors #1, Israel-Syria border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases

On the Fence #3, Jaffa

Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv


Haifa Walks, Haifa Museum of Art

ZEMIKEA, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya

Mind the Heart, The Container, Tel Aviv
Sea Breeze, Artist Residency, Bat Yam

On the Fence #2, Jaffa
Mind the Heart, Dining Room, Tel Aviv
Ward Nasse, Ward Nasse Gallery, New York


Cannons & Muses, Tama University of Art, Tokyo
de:frost Festival, Jerusalem


Biennial #2, Herzliya

Secret Art #4, Beit Mani, Tel Aviv
Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv

Tan, P8 Gallery, Tel Aviv I Declare an Art War, Shorashim Gallery

White Trash, Tel Aviv


It’s a Small Big World, Tel Aviv Museum of Art


Designers of the Future, Tel Aviv, Reading Power Station

International Woman’s Day, Tel Aviv University

Dialogue, Tzavta Theater, Tel Aviv



Artist in Residence, at Windgate Residency, KSU University, Georgia, USA (September-October 2023)

Artist in Residence, at Swatch Art Peace Hotel Residency, Shanghai, China (June-September 2023)

Artists of the season, at the Core Dance Company, Atlanta, USA (April-May 2023)

No time to loose & SEED, at the Roza Center for International and Interdisciplinary Art, Krakow, Poland (2022)

The Poland Project, at the Sichow Foundation, Krakow, Poland (2019)

Collaborations & Public Actions (under Mind the Heart! Project)


Wishing Wall, Georgia Highlands College, Cartersville, GE, USA

Mantra, Mural, Core Dance, Atlanta, GE, USA

Bodies of Work, Solo Exhibition, ONKAF Gallery, New Delhi, India


SEED, Rosa Foundation, Artist Residency, Krakow, Poland

Looking at Place, Katzman Contemporary, Dover, NH, USA

O/Art, fundraiser for Ukraine, Atlanta-Chattanooga, TN & GA, USA          


Introduce Yourself, Kliger Gallery, Lund, Sweden


The Poland Project, Sichow Foundation, Artist Residency, Krakow, Poland


New Poetics of Labor, Al camello camello y al amor amor, Espacio, Medellín, Colombia

MTH! in D.C. at By The People Arts Festival (Smisthonian, National Cathedral, Union Market,

~ Walter Reed & The Arc West, Washington, D.C.)

Bodies of Water, Site specific piece in the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR

The Spaces Between #1, JCC, Foster City, CA, USA

The Spaces Between #2, PJCC, San Rafael, CA, USA

MTH! in Houston, at the City Hall & Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX

Towards One: Site specific, permanent piece in Building 98, Marfa, TX


Be Here Now, Site specific, permanent piece in Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga, TN

MTH! in Hillary R. Clinton Library, Little Rock, AR

MTH! in Atlanta, at The Decatur Art Alliance, Decatur, GA

MTH! in Apopka, at the HCC, Apopka, FL

MTH! in Portsmouth, at Prescott Park & 3S Gallery, Portsmouth, NH

MTH! in Tel Aviv, Pilot for USA Tour at Beit Tami, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publications and Books

2022    Book, "Unravelling Women’s Art, by PL Henderson, Aurora Metro books, England

2018    Book, "Al camello camello y al amor amor" by Cristina Velásquez, NPOL, Colombia

2016    Book, "Wall, wall" by Dominque Lafon, France

2015    Book, "Street Messages" by Nicholas Ganz, Dokument Press, Germany

2013    TEDx TLV Talk: "Creating out of not knowing"- the creation of SPARK Solo Exhibition >> to see the talk 

* Curitorial texts:

Press & selected articles:

Public collections

Historic Building 98. Marfa TX, USA

Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga TN, USA

Lettenmayer & partners, Czech Republic

MILU Art Hotel, Florence, Italy

Magdas Hotel, Vienna, Austria

Herzliya Municipal Library, Israel

* A list of private collections will be given upon request.

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