Laila Schwartz: The Emancipation of the Model Laila Schwarz
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Laila Schwartz: The Emancipation of the Model

Inside the mind of a top former nude model and “post-identity” social justice warrior.

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My meeting with Laila Schwartz happened by pure chance, something she herself pointed out to me as characterizing her entire life. Laila was a nude model throughout her adult life. This in itself is not particularly interesting. What makes her story interesting is that though she was a nude model for decades, she never viewed it as a career. Instead she used her body to liberate herself from a life otherwise not worth living.

And what also makes her story interesting is the fact that her life was intertwined with Israel’s most famous artists, among them Yigal Tumarkin, Menashe Kadishman, Raffi Lavie and many others, some of whom are mentioned below. Somewhere along the line, Laila began to document the artists who painted her, thus turning the artists into the subject matter. This role reversal, also documented on film, has become a sought-after treasure trove for Israeli institutions looking to enrich their archives.

Choosing from early on to barter posing in the nude, Laila accumulated a large collection of art, shown from time to time in Israel and abroad.…

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