Documenting underwater thoughts.
Oil on canvas, 100 H x 100 W cm / 39.4 H x 39.4 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Abu Lavie identity in 2014.

Do you ever imagine yourself in a perfect universe? Is there anything in this world that keeps impressing and inspiring you time after time?
In 2013, being back in Israel,  I found myself complaining a lot, mainly because I kept comparing it to the Dominican Republic, where I lived before. However, Israel itself, apart from its ongoing geopolitical problems, is quite fascinating. The north is green and fertile, the south is a complete desert. Jerusalem, the capital, is very spiritual, and Tel-Aviv is groovy. But if you ask me: “What is the single most spectacular place in Israel?”, I will not even blink before telling you: “Eilat, under the water!”
My girlfriend and I grab any opportunity to spend extended times in Eilat. We were there on an open ended vacation, when we found out that we are pregnant, and when we became parents to our first son Lavie, we waited until he was three months old, before taking him with us to Eilat for a few months.
Eilat is the most southern city of Israel, just on the border with Egypt, and right on the shores of the Red Sea, which is also shared with Jordan in the east and Saudi Arabia further south.
Although Eilat is a part of Israel, it has its own rhythm, and some would argue, its own easy going culture. While it is considered an international tourist destination, many Israelis escape to Eilat on a regular basis, to relax from the stress and intensity of the center.
There are a few educated explanations regarding the origins of the name “Red Sea”, however, this is my favorite one: When the sea is calm, especially during sunset, the giant red mountains which surround the bay are reflected in the surface of the water and paint it in a metallic red-violet-brown. The underwater universe of the Red Sea is a truly natural treasure. It is so colorful, diverse, and majestic that divers from around the globe come to explore it, enjoy it, and as I see it, worship it. Fishing is prohibited in the Israeli side of the bay, thus innumerous species of fish, shells, corals, and a variety of other aquatic creatures thrive there. Free diving in such a magnificent environment is an infinite inspiration for me and it is never enough. The color compositions, the sophisticated structures, the camouflage and hunting techniques of the thousands of creatures are breathtaking. I do confess, that as an artist, I try to imitate some of those creatures’ designs and utilize a variety of their coloring tricks.
Other than the beauty, what keeps me overwhelmed, is the harmony under which all this universe is being managed. I can spend hours in the water, and I am always fascinated, looking for new discoveries, or trying to reveal prehistoric secrets of corals, which have been on this planet for a few hundred million years. I always wonder though, if I dive underwater in order to escape reality, or whether the underwater reality is the one I would have liked to adopt.