October 1 - November 26 2017. My show 'Life in the Holy Land' is on at the Jerusalem International YMCA. This exhibition features artworks in different media and styles: traditional realist portraits and still-lives in oil paint, and dioramas – three-dimensional scenes drawn and painted on recycled material. All works depict life in the Holy Land.

OPENING Thursday October 26, 5-7.30 pm

My work originally focuses on people, but since I live in Jerusalem, I have turned in addition to the question of the representation of nature, and how we see and interact with it. So I have also been experimenting with new modes of artistic expression that integrate recycled material. My main concern in this exhibit is with modernity and conflict in the Holy Land that are appropriating, re-shaping and often destroying the natural beauty and traditional ways of working with the land.


This is a small detail in one of the dioramas. I invite visitors to the exhibit to look out for these animals, who are indigenous to this land!

I am honored to be exhibiting in this beautiful and inspiring venue. Click here for more info about the Jerusalem International YMCA.

November 5 2017 - I will give a workshop at the YMCA: "Fresh Eyes on Used Material'. This workshop is conceptualized to tackled the need to look at our surroundings with new eyes, and to think about our consumption of objects that remain in the environment after we have discarded them. How can we avoid consuming so many disposable things, and how we can use those things that have been discarded in new and creative ways?





August 10-28 2017. I am showing my dioramas of sheepherding in Palestine and the Basque Country in the solo exhibit "Land, Sheep and People" at the Basque restaurant On Egin, in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln, with the support of the Basque Cultural Center of Berlin.



Inspired by the secular tradition of pastoralism, this exhibition shows artworks in small formats, conceived as 'dioramas', which depict pastoral scenes in the Basque Country and Palestine. In these two very different contexts, small-scale sheepherding has undergone great transformations over the course of the last decade, at the same time as remaining a fundamental element in the construction of collective identity.

The dioramas are made with recycled material, coming for example from cereal boxes. Painted in watercolor, the scenes in them evoke the contrast between the bucolic and idealized appearance of this traditional way of life and the reality of life today with all its challenges - political, economic, social and environmental.

July - September 2017. Some of my still-life paintings are on show in the Guesthouse of Saint George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem.

From top clockwise: 'Hebron glass and garlic', 'Hebron glass and East Jerusalemite bread', Hebron glass, ceramics and lemon', and 'Bread, flowers and lemons from East Jerusalem'. Prices range from 750 to 950 US$.



June 2017. My series of dioramas or "ethnographic tableaux" featuring the fauna and flora of Israel and Palestine is growing...

Why do I call these dioramas "ethnographic tableaux'?? Because they are based on my personal observation and participation in these contexts, and are a play on the French term 'tableau vivant' which means the live re-enactment of a scene and thus relates to my original academic training as a realist painter, as well as my work as an ethnographer.

I began this project in earnest in 2016, propelled by several determining states of mind: surrounded in Jerusalem (where I live since 2015) by so many tragic instances of varying forms of violence, it became necessary for me to explore another way of doing art that could re-connect me with the innocence and wide-eyed wonder at the world that we all originally have as children. I made myself re-discover the simple pleasures of playing with little things, employing scissors, tape and glue to make new objects out of used or organic material. In the process, I re-connected with the concept of 'bricolage' that the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss introduced to describe the human inclination to make sense of one's environment by resorting to resources directly at hand. I went back to simple illustrations, and together with bricolage, re-created little worlds in the form of dioramas that speak about the reality around us but in a more light-hearted way. I use recycled and organic material as a way to also bring attention to the excessive production and consumption of things that destroy our natural environment.

One series of dioramas focuses specifically on pastoralism, something I have felt close to since I was a child being with the animals in the Basque Country. Since living in Jerusalem and getting to know the Bedouin shepherds, I re-discovered the deep affection for something profoundly humane and intimate with the natural environment. Sheepherding is a way of life that is undergoing great changes, faced with acute political, economic and environmental challenges. All this I seek to evoke in these dioramas.
'Ploughing, near Dura, Palestine (West Bank)'

'Sheep, donkey and shepherd near Hebron and settlements, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Sheep and shepherd near Hebron and settlements, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Bedouin family and sheep near Har Homa settlement, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem'

'Off to school, near Hebron, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Olive picking, near Bathir, Palestine (West Bank)'

'In the spring, with the activist group Ta'ayush, sheep and Bedouin shepherds in the Jordan Valley, Palestine (West Bank), Israeli army and outpost closeby'
Half a dozen sessions later, Andy's final portrait. 
May 2017. I complete my portraits of Andy Griffel, Anne Sassoon and Eddi Huzaineh, three wonderful individuals I have had the good fortune to spend time with these past months.
First day with Andy in my studio in Jerusalem.
The final portrait of Anne.


Anne and I painting each other in her studio, Jerusalem.
Eddi's first day posing in my studio.
The final portrait of Eddi.

January 2017. I am working on several projects:

1. Portrait painting special individuals that I have the privilege of meeting in Jerusalem. Usually the person comes to pose for me in my studio. Currently I am completing a portrait of fellow artist Batnadiv Hakarmi, pregnant of her first child.

2. Painting a series of landscapes of Jerusalem that take in both the old and the new constructions of this complex city.

3. Constructing dioramas made from used cereal boxes, depicting the life of Bedouin sheepherders today. I link it with my experience of pastoralism amongst the Basques in their homeland and in the American West.

4. Painting still-lives including the beautiful glass and ceramics by the Palestinian artisans of Hebron.

5. I am composing illustrated children's stories. One of these is 'Maman et Papa Noel'. Traditions are invented and change with time and usage, and so we can play a role in molding them. With this particular story, I will be giving protagonism to the female figure in the secular and so-far partial tale of Father Christmas.

6. Making comical illustrations of everyday life in Jerusalem with my 2 and 4 year old children. Selected drawings can be found on my drawing blog.

7. As part of my daily illustrations, I have recently included the depiction of an individual climbing a tree and witnessing current social and political events that I identify with. Selected drawings can be found on my drawing blog.

8. I contribute weekly a cartoon on local politics in the Basque Country to the Basque paper Herria that comes out every Thursday. The cartoons can also be found on my drawing blog.

And finally, of course, writing ethnography. One paper focuses on the art world in East Jerusalem. Another on an auto ethnography of art and politics in regions of conflict. And a third on painting portraiture as part of ethnographic research...
Oil sketch of the Valley of the Monastery of the Cross, viewed from my studio. 40cm60cm canvas



Happy New Year! I inaugurated this year climbing a tree for enlightenment, hope, love and freedom.

November 3 2016: I am invited by Dr. Gorka Mercero, lecturer in Basque Studies at Liverpool University, UK, to give a talk via Skype entitled "Changing Boundaries in the Basque Country: a multi-disciplinary perspective", about how identity politics have evolved in this region over the past few years and how to interpret them. The talk was scheduled as part of a study week on the topic of Borders, organised by the University's Modern Languages Department, with the help of the Basque Cultural Institute Etxepare.
October 2016: I am doing an Artist Residency in Motherhood that will last a year. ARIM is an initiative launched by the artist Lenka Clayton specially for artists who are also mothers. I find it helpful for delving into the sources of inspiration offered by the world of parenthood. Through ARIM, my work is developing in a more inter-disciplinary and multi-medial way, in which humour and play have central roles. It currently takes the concrete form of drawings and dioramas comically documenting daily life with a one and a three-year-old in the quirky and challenging context of Jerusalem, with all its sociopolitical tensions.
I will continue this residency until October 2017. I am so far the only participant of ARIM in the region of Israel-Palestine.
View of the Old - and New - City of Jerusalem (watercolour on cereal box)

September 8 -15 2016: I am honoured to be featured in the Basque Weekly Magazine Herria. I talk about my experience of living in Jerusalem, and what it is I am doing there as an anthropologist and an artist.
May 2016: My article on "Anthropology with a Paintbrush" published in the Visual Anthropology Review now includes supplements for classroom activities.
April 2016: I work on a self-portrait with Noa Laila and fellow painter Batnadiv Hakarmi
Painting in progress...

My painting in progress, fellow painter Batnadiv Hakarmi working alongside, and Noa in the middle, taking a rest from her posing..
One of Batnadiv Hakarmi's paintings of me
Painting in progress..


April 2016: I take part in the collective guerrilla exhibit organized by the Center for Imaginative Ethnography as part of the Society for Applied Anthropology's Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, with a video of the painting process with the late artist Nestor Basterretxea, and pop-up drawings of the process.

February- May 2016: My drawings of laundry in Jerusalem are on show in Riverside, California, USA, as part of the exhibition ‘Hanging Out’ and the project 'On the Line' conceived by Susan Ossman, from the Department of Anthropology of the University of California Riverside.
Men's shirts in the ultra orthodox Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.


February - April 2016: My portraits of Marie-Louise Lekumberry (see picture) and Nestor Basterretxea are on show at the Musée Basque of Bayonne, in the French Basque Country, as part of the exhibition on Art and the Basque Diaspora. The exhibition will then go to the Palacio de Contestable, Pamplona (May-July) and later to the Prison des Eveques, Saint Jean Pied de Port (July-August), within the framework of the Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian-Donostia as European Capital of Culture 2016.

February 25-26 2016: I take part in a conference on Art and the Basque Diaspora, organized by the Basque Studies Society Eusko Ikaskuntza, in Bayonne and San Sebastian, Basque Country.
February 17 2016: I am invited by the Carson City Arts Initiative to give an artist's talk at Sierra Nevada College, at Incline Village, on Lake Tahoe, NV, at 1pm AND at the BRIC, in Carson City, NV, at 6.30pm.
December 2015: This month will be my last of four and a half years as Assistant Professor on Tenure Track at the University of Nevada Reno's Center for Basque Studies. I have decided to leave this position to stay in Jerusalem where I was already located since October 2014 thanks to a sabbatical from UNR. I am sad to leave UNR and grateful to it for having offered me such a stimulating environment.
November 2015:  Read my essay on Painting Anthropology in Anthropology News!


November 18-21 2015: I give a presentation of my recent research on art and politics in Jerusalem, at the American Anthropological Association Meeting, in Denver, Colorado.
November 16-17 2015: I discuss the use of portrait-painting as part of research on identity in areas of conflict at the Visual Research Conference, in Denver, Colorado, USA.
November 9-10 2015: I present my use of portrait-painting as part of anthropological research at the "Last Focus" conference at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, in Paris.
Painting the Basque artist Nestor Basterretxea, July 2010
October 2015: My latest article "Anthropology with a PaintBrush" is out, in Visual Anthropology Review.

August 12 - 18 2015. I am exhibiting four of my portraits in the collective show 'Les peintres de la Nivelle', at the Tour de Bordagain, in Ciboure, French Basque Country. The portraits are of artists Filipe Oyhamburu, Nestor Basterretxea, and the shepherd Miren Aire, and a double self-portrait. Oyhamburu and my portrait were purchased long ago and are usually in the home of their owners. So this is a great opportunity to see them. Catologue.
July 3 2015. Closing reception of my artist's residency at Beita. While you enjoy a drink and a nibble, I will continue to paint. Sit down or stand and watch with a nice refreshment in one hand and a plate in the other! 
Painting the artist Leah Mur, at Beita, Jerusalem, July 2015
June 3 - July 2 2015. I am Artist-in-Residence at Beita, Jerusalem's Social Based Art Center. I will paint life-sized portraits of volunteer models over the course of three weeks. The residency focuses on portraiture as a mechanism for interpersonal communication, cross cultural exchange, self-exploration and personal identity-building. I will use Beita as a live studio where through my creative process I will explore the spiritual, psychological and sociopolitical dimensions of the models and their environment.
Painting Tel Aviv artist Sally Krysztal at Beita. Photograph by Emily Teague

June 2 2015. I give a talk and mini-workshop on Painting Identity and Portraiture at Beita, Jerusalem's Social Based Art Center. Participants are invited to try painting themselves or others.
February 1 2015. My daughter Noa Laila June was born peacefully in our home in Jerusalem.
I produced these two portraits of myself in charcoal on brown paper just a few weeks before:

November 2014: I co-organize a panel on "Drawing and Painting in the Production of Anthropological Knowledge" at the American Anthropological Association Meeting, in Washington DC.
Since October 2014, I am in Jerusalem, thanks to a sabbatical from the University of Nevada Reno, to continue my research on art and politics.
Sept. 3 - 6 2014. I will be painting live the portrait of Anthropologist Katie Stewart at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, in collaboration with the Anthropology Department of the University of Texas, Austin. Come visit 1-5pm everyday! Sept. 6: Roundtable discussion on the topic of Slow Ethnography.
July - August 2014. Solo show 'Lives', Saint Mary's Art Center, Virginia City, NV, USA.
Reception: Sunday June 29, 1-4pm.

June 19-22 2014. As part of Nada Dada, the art-in-50-motel-rooms-movement, I get a room at the Motor Lodge Motel in downtown Reno to draw the life-size portrait of photographer Frances Melhop. Come see us in action!










November 2013 - January 2014. Solo show 'Identities', Metro Gallery, downtown Reno, NV, USA.

Reception: December 12, 5-7pm.

In the picture, painting artist Joan Arrizabalaga at her home in Reno, NV.

November 18-24 2013. Live painting, with Ethnographic Terminalia,  Arts Incubator, Chicago, IL, USA.


October 18-20 2013. Live painting, American Natural History Museum, New York, NYC, USA.
May 2-4 2013. I co-organize the symposium 'Beyond Guernica and the Guggenheim: art and politics today", hosted by the Center for Basque Studies, at the University of Nevada Reno. Participants included art historians Dore Ashton and Peter Selz, sociologist Nathalie Heinich, curators Daniel Castillejo and Fernando Golvano, and artists Azucena Vieites and Txomin Badiola. A publication will be out in 2014.
April 2013. I receive a Junior Faculty Summer Research and Artistry Grant from the University of Nevada Reno - 3000 dollars - which will help cover the costs of my research on the politics of art in the Basque Country this summer.
March 2013. I take part in a retreat with the Dusty Roads Artists at Saint Mary's Art Center, in Virginia City, Nevada.
January-February 2013. Solo show 'Intimacy', Sheppard Contemporary Gallery, Reno, NV.



With the birth of my son, the presentation and reception for my exhibition is re-scheduled to: 7 February.



Paul Kurt Irrintzi was born today January 25 2013, at 8.01pm (at home in my painting studio thanks to the help of four amazing people, including my husband Christian)!


January 2013. Self-portrait in third trimester. oil on canvas.
 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As from today, 1st of January 2013, I shall resume my daily drawings.
You can see my previous challenge, in 2011, here.
I have decided to resume this challenge, because it is such a beautiful way of documenting life. 
And one of the beauties of life is that in exactly 4 weeks time, 'kartoffel' is officially expected to enter the world!