Mentor and Alumna Rona Yefman '09 in Solo Exhibition 'The Strongest Girl in the World'

BY Audrey Deng, September 26, 2019

Rona Yefman ’09, a mentor and alumna of the visual arts program, put on her first Scandinavian show this past May with the solo exhibit The Strongest Girl in the World. The gallery presenting the show is the Oslo Kunstforening, in Oslo, Norway.


Yefman lives and works between Brooklyn, N.Y. and Israel. She received her MFA from Columbia University and her BFA from Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem.


In 1996, Yefman began a fourteen-year project called Let It Bleed, in collaboration with her brother, Gil Yefman. According to the gallery, Yefman’s project is a documentation of two siblings’ relationships to each other and themselves which, in its most fragile and complex parts, shows “Gil’s transformation from male to a female, and then her transformation towards living beyond gender.” Let It Bleed, says video artist Michel Auder in Bomb Magazine, captures “an uncanny feeling, an aesthetic fright leading back to something familiar.”


Parts of Let It Bleed will be on display at Oslo Kunstforening, along with Pippi L. – The Strongest Girl in the World! which Yefman made with sound artist Tanja Schlander. This project lasted three years, and drew inspiration from the fictional character Pippi Longstocking.


Part of the exhibit includes a video, which Columbia University presented in 2011, in the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. The video shows Yefman’s collaborator, the artist Tanja Schlander, dressed up as a contemporary version of the character invented in the 1940s by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. With her bare hands, Schlander repeatedly attempts to dislodge the concrete wall that separates the West Bank from Israel. The gallery in Oslo features this video, as well as videos and several photographs from Yefman's collaboration with Schlander.


The Oslo Kunstforening gallery showing parts of these two extraordinary projects will close on Oct. 6, 2019.