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I have been working as a painter on two projects with performer/dancer Shira Benyoav for the last few years

  1. I have chosen to work with Shira Benyoav as a live model for several symbolical paintings, because of her competencies with body expression. She is able to understand and act from instruction with great flexibility, and always with an inspiring personal touch. Her quality of expression gives me also the possibility to improvise new subjects from former sketches. 
  2. Shira Benyoav and I, have also made a successful project with a focus on her butho performance. The output of the project was a live butho performance by Shira at the gallery CopenHart (in Copenhagen), where I exhibited paintings of her under her training for the performance. Another painter, Bjørn Eriksen, participated in the same exhibition under the same premises. The exhibition was the first of a planned series: “Traces of reality”.
  3. A third project is in our thoughts, without a precise time schedule, on the basic idea: integration of painting (stage backgrounds and body paint) with butho performance.

An important result of our collaboration, in addition of the tangible products, was the mutual inspiration our different artistic activities brought to each other.

Denis Virlogeux

Painter, Art lecturer at the National Danish Design School, Member of BKF (the Danish Artist Federation), Member of Société des Artistes Français

Shira has inspired me in different ways. Partially through the physical dance, partially through conversations about art and life. In both cases, she radiates a universal state of love and presence which is very rare but also truly necessary for all original artistic creation. She is using her dance and her voice, with the ability to create a space or a creative energy field without beginning or end. In this energy field, anything can be brought about! What more could you ask for?

As a dancer, Shira inspired me in painting over a period of time that led to a project of exhibiting the paintings in the Copenhart Gallery in Copenhagen.

On the opening day of the exhibition in the Copenhart Gallery, Shira presented a live dance performance which was an integral part of the exhibition.

Furthermore, Shira came up with ideas of taking a creative part in the teaching of my painting groups.

She added experimental personal development exercises and meditations that followed my teachings.

In the future, there are plans for new art projects where we combine different forms of art as a part of our belief that these are mutually beneficial.

Bjorn Eriksen 

Bjorn Eriksen lives and works in Denmark. His interest in art was sparked at the age of seven when he viewed Picasso’s Guernica. He attended the Danish School of Design from 1984 to 1986 and is currently a member of the Danish Artist Society.

Eriksen has been holding both solo and group exhibitions since 1974 and has exhibited in Europe and the USA. His work is held in both public and private collections. His profile was published in the Famous 100 Contemporary Artists. In 2009, The Danish Art Council awarded funding to Bjorn who was invited to attend the Global Village exhibition in Amsterdam in January 2010 together with his studio partner, Jonna Pedersen.

He manages to imbue seemingly simple subjects with a narrative suggestiveness that resonates far beyond the content of his paintings. His exhibitions stimulate a host of imaginative interpretations and ultimately provide rewarding insights to the viewer.

As a dancer, she was taking part in performances that combined video art, poetry reading, experimental music-making in which she used her own choreography based on Bhutto dance technique.

In the same way, she was creating her own movements being a dancer model for a painter – shown to the public at some exhibitions. 

I assisted her with supervision, and through my connections as a choreographer, teacher and dancer helped her find possibilities of teaching e.g. creative dance for kids in a kinder garden and creative dance/movements at two yoga centers in Copenhagen, and contact improvisation in a contact improvisation school.

She also arranged some private groups, the aim of which was to combine movement and spiritual processes for healing purposes making people aware of themselves both in a physical and spiritual way and thus through movement become able to respond from deep inside, in this way finding the healing power and happiness of the body.

Shira has a solid knowledge of different dance and therapy techniques from her previous studies and years of working in this field, and she knows to integrate them accordingly in her own way, and I was also witness to careful planning and consideration before and after sessions and lessons. These combined with her highly developed intuition are important tools in her future work.

I can fully recommend her application to further develop her talents.

Lene Abro

Lene Abro is a choreographer, dancer and teacher, instructor of Qigong,  choreographer and leader of the dance group HORA-DEBKA-DANIA, employed for 25 years at the School of Music Copenhagen, member of the board at the school, formerly employed for 20 years at the Royal Danish Academy of Music 

I met Shira in 1992 by way of art studies at school and have known her since. For me, that was a lifetime opportunity to be around her. Beyond the conventional purpose that any kind of student in that arts section, Shira achieved more than any grade, because there is no way to measure or value a real way of being. Above the technique and the basis of art language, she developed a free personal style and personal expression through art- the style any student takes from a certain point of view adding as much as he is able to receive through art. Being with Shira was incredibly special for me. From the first moment, the definition border between being a professor and being a student was not there. 

The dialogue between both of us and the language of art changed continuously. There were moments when I was the student and Shira was the professor, and there were other times where Shira was the student and I was the professor. Mostly the art itself was the guide that led us, and we were its students. In all the situations and conditions, being a teacher or a professor was acknowledged and I experienced a newness. I was awarded to be by a person whose integration and knowing is that art is life and life is art. Our meetings were a place of having this human potential arising from harmony and sharing and infinite love. Shira’s ability to listen was extremely deep and her senses were the source of her presence. Her being in touch with her presence and sources took the visual form a process which she has been moving through for three years in the arts section in the high school and in her life. Shira managed to see her outer information and create a synthesis with the natural knowing that was within her through the art.  There is a way in which an artist moves to create his masterpiece and give an expression to the area of twilight-like the time between two beats of the heart. Rarely students can ever get to that kind of knowledge in life and through art, and Shira was discovering that and expressing that increasingly. Through all those three years she has been planning small projects, first done in sketchbooks that were full of songs, texts and small paintings and so on. At graduation, Shira’s single exhibit was a statue at home by the lower foundation. Shira built an igloo made out of iron frame construction, screens and white medical casting tape, about three meters across. It was painted inside and out, a painting of her artistic way of being. She opened her house to invite visitors and I was one of them. The theme was exciting in a special way and came from the depth of the source of the art that only a few reach to.

The presence of both of us in the world of art was a journey in itself.

The artist in her, the person in her, the being that she is, the beauty in her, the character in her, all show such a special person who is bonded to the world in all dimensions with modesty and inner silence. Her knowledge of giving herself in a measured way and true quality that the other can receive. Art sensibility to the world and to the world of art as one, Shira is simply a measureless woman, so may it be that others will have a similar fortunate capacity to experience light through art. 

Hedva Teperberg

Professor at the University of Haifa in the faculty of the arts. Artist in sculpture and painting.

Static Movement on the Desktop — A Performance

It was not a big public meeting, but still, half a hundred guests had found their way to the Copenhart Gallery to see a butoh-dance inspired multimedia performance. In the middle of the darkness that had descended upon the room, accompanied by electronic music and visuals, the Israeli-born Shira Benyoav performed her inciting show at the center of the fine old desk that once belonged H.C. Hansen when he was the prime minister of Denmark half a century ago.
The table was dressed in coarse cloth and covered with Plexiglas, and Shira herself was wearing white body paint and a hooded outfit that created anonymity complimentary to the intensity of the performance. The silence was equally resounding, as the applause finally brought redemption for both dancer and audience.
Before the show, the exhibiting artists (Eriksen and Virlogeux) explained why they each chose Shira as their model for some of their paintings: Actually, the butoh-dancer was present throughout the gallery as the motive of seven of the paintings on the gallery’s walls (five small by Denis plus two big ones by Bjorn) – naturally, especially these works were given much attention on this last Saturday in March. 


Call / text: 587-921-5993

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