Vladimir Tamari was born in Jerusalem on July 7, 1942. He took his first breath in the purity of Jerusalem’s air, and the first light he saw came from its luminous skies. Throughout his life, Jerusalem was his anchor and rock, his inspiration and muse, and the place where his soul rested and was comforted. At home, during his childhood and youth in Palestine, or subsequently during his exile in faraway Japan, Jerusalem was central to everything in his life, in his love for family and friends, in his art, in his scientific inventions, in the myriad creative projects and adventures he undertook in his endless search for what is beautiful and true.
A painter, inventor, physicist, illustrator, and graphic designer, Vladimir was among the most esteemed of all Palestinian contemporary artists and a true Renaissance man. His artworks are found in museum collections worldwide, including the British Museum, l’Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and Darat al-Funun and the Royal Collection in Jordan. Painting ceaselessly and prolifically since his youth, Tamari studied physics and art at the American University of Beirut as well as painting at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, before spending time in the United States and Lebanon, and finally settling in Tokyo, Japan.
Beginning in 1980, alongside his artwork, he conducted research and publications in optics, imaging, and auto-stereoscopic displays. He holds patents in the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States for Arabic typography for three-dimensional and perspective drawing devices, and for an invention to cancel optical diffraction. His writings have appeared in various publications such as Mawaqif, Optoelectronics, and Leonardo, a journal for art and science, of which he was an international co-editor.
Vladimir passed away in Tokyo on August 6, 2017, only hours after signing a large painting of his favorite cherry tree in bloom in the park near his home. Terminally ill, Vladimir had spent the last few months of his life working on it, acutely aware of the short time he had left on this earth. I would like to think that those final brush strokes, the beautiful pink hues of the flowers that he loved, cheered him up, and that the white light that permeates the leaves and branches on this canvas created a magical beam that miraculously interwove itself with the light of his beloved Jerusalem, taking him back to his home city, the place where he always longed to be. It was his way to return. And I would like to imagine that as he took a last look at his creation, and touched his tree with love, as he held the brush in feeble fingers to sign his name to his final painting, Vladimir was happy and at peace.