Reuven Cohen Alloro R.I.P
Reuven Cohen Alloro, an artist, an architect, a man of earth and spirit, a dear friend and a member and co-founder of Tav Group, died on Tuesday, November 17, 2009, after he fell and was severely injured while at the final phase of building his new home in Kibbutz Harduf in the Galilee.
Reuven was born in 1953 in Algeria and immigrated to Israel at the age of three with his family: his parents, Ivan and Louise Smirda Joshua, and five elder siblings. He spent his childhood in the valleys surrounding Tiveon, where he drew deep the beauty of nature and was brought up according to the philosophy of his vegan parents, which was to accompany him throughout his life journey.
After completing his architecture studies at the Technion, he renovated an old stone house as a home for himself in the old Arab Halisa neighborhood in Haifa, and opened a workshop for lamps design, "a point of light". In early 1987 he joined Maoz and Yoav to establish Tav Group.
During 23 years of activity as an artist and an architect, Reuven has always had a marked natural tendency towards sharing and cooperating with his numerous friends, both in his professional and personal life. There seemed to be about him an ever expanding group, a community, for whom Reuven was the eldest in stature and youngest in heart and mind.
In Tav little colony, on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Reuven set up in 1988 his round house, always full of life and work. Unconsciously and without ceremony the place has become a social and artistic center of significant weight. For a decade, countless people visited his home, drawn to the charm of the man, to the power of his simple conduct and to the ways of an artist whose life and art were one.
Tav's common courtyard was full of life; children were born and raised there, alongside an architectural studio, a cafe, art and theater workshops, parties and meetings concerning social and environmental affairs. In all these, the hallmarks of Reuven were omnipresent.
In 1997, the group had to evacuate the little hillside village and go searching for their common home, a permanent home. Reuven temporarily returned to his old house in Halisa, but it seems the experience of displacement has served to bring him closer to his roots and in the coming years he devoted his endeavors to Land Art and to the development of sustainable housing solutions.
In 2000 Reuven moved to live in Kibbutz Harduf, in a train car which he turned into his home. Later he met Hila, his wife, and together they built their home in the new neighborhood of Harduf, overlooking the Tzipori valley.
Reuven spent half his life either in the depths of some excavation or on top of a ladder, always busy with relentless intent to benefit the earth and to beautify the sky. On Saturday, November 14, he climbed his ladder for the last time and fell to the stone crevice he had built with his own hands at the heart of the house. Fifty-five years old he was when he died.
Reuven had never signed his name on his work. He always shared the credit with his Tav Group partners. In practice, however, crucial was his part in the group's joint achievements. Among the works most notable for Reuven's unique signature: Pit, Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod, 1997; Bokraphilmishmish, Israel Museum, 2005; Milestone, Ecosphere, Ein Hod, 2009 and many more.
Reuven, you always knew how to make things happen. And always knew the right moment to end it all and move on. Toolbox closed, home we go; A time to eat and a time to sleep. This was your way to go and this is how you ended this chapter on this earth. Hundreds escorted you from "The Gate of Man", a place of your creation, to the gate of the Ever-land at the Harduf cemetery. Three lowered you to the grave, in an orange shroud, fluttering with the wind like your curly forelock, ripples-ripples: Walid, Axel and Jacob, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew. We went to your house, seven days we mourned and sang. In your death your admirers met, amazed and astounded, within the space you left, a space in the form of your image ripped open in us, so many soul-mates.
Wherever we go, whatever we do, you shall always be with us, an eternal child, a hero of heroes, a man, your marrow the tree of the field, yourself a sparking flint, a point of light to show us the way.