Methodical thinking through drawing

Self-experience at the Iparon course in urban space in Witzenhausen for the intercultural week

Witzenhausen - Arrived late at the transition house in Witzenhausen, I see five people whose focus is entirely on drawing with their pencil.

In keeping with this artistic and concentrated atmosphere, quiet jazz music is playing in the background.

Only one person is not drawing, that is the course instructor Barak Ben Dov, who quietly observes and praises participants. This workshop is about methodical thinking through drawing and is called Iparon. This method can stretch the mind and open new ways of thinking. It comes from Zen Buddhism.

I am the perfect participant for this item of the intercultural weeks' program . I can't draw, and I don't like it either. That's why I was creative in my own way in art class, and had large portions of my drawings were made by my classmates.

On Monday, however I didn't give up before drawing. Strangely enough, it wasn't bad, more relaxing. My memories from drawing were: Depression, tension, and weariness. The combination of simple exercises and useful tips from instructor Ben Dov made me anything but tense. In these two hours, my mind did not stretch, and no new ways of thinking opened up. However, that is not possible in two hours and not exclusively the goal, explains Ben Dov.

This was a taster workshop to strengthen self-confidence. Normally, the individual exercises would have to be carried out more intensively and for longer. In the future, Barak would like to have a more extensive course with several dates.

Hendric Woltmann, HNA, 24.9.2020

From Michael Casper, Witzenhauser Allgmeine, 24.12.2020

+ A loose translation +

Witzenhausen - The Germans are nice and friendly. They do a good job and take responsibility for themselves, others, and their history - Barak Ben Dov (38) likes that. The Israeli primary school teacher has lived in Witzenhausen for three years.

Germans have taken a liking to Ben Dov. "Supermarket employees know what they are talking about, patiently explain the products to a foreigner and ask them to come back if there are problems after the purchase," reports the teacher. He noticed a lot of such things.

Few examples are an employee who was dissatisfied with the result of a key he made, so he made a second, better version without asking. Road detours always lead to the destination in the Federal Republic. The bureaucratic path is often long, but in the end, it usually gives a satisfactory result.

"The German state is caring and has its eyes on the people," says the Israeli. Germany supports young mothers financially so that they can study, he says. What fascinates him most is that most Germans take all of these things for granted. It is "magical", explains the primary school teacher.

Ben Dov experienced different things in his home country Israel, but also while traveling in Asia. He is an immigrant child. His father was in his early twenties when he and his parents moved to Israel from what was then the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. The mother came to Israel from the Balkans in her parents' arms as a baby.

"My parents have become proud Israelis," says the 38-year-old. "My parents have become proud Israelis," says the 38-year-old. But he himself had the feeling in Israel that he was not in the right place. xxx

A Work and Travel visa enabled the then 29-year-old to work in Australia in agriculture and gastronomy. There he met his current girlfriend, Lara, with whom he later traveled through Asia. She visited him in Israel; he visited her in Germany. Three years ago, they moved to Witzenhausen together, where she is doing her Masters in Organic Agricultural Science.

Ben Dov found a part-time job in the kitchen at Kindervatter. He likes the physical work as a dishwasher. He tries to implement what he learned from Eugen Herrigel's book "Zen in the Art of Archery" (1948): Concentrating on the moment, doing what needs to be done.

This cleared his mind to think about his work as a drawing teacher. For a year and a half, he has been developing his teaching method. It's called Iparon - "pencil" in Hebrew. He lets students draw, then guides them to locate one thing in the picture that they can improve. Then he helps them to find the tools to overcome their specific obstacles. That way, the students work their way step by step until the drawing has been completely revised.

This year Ben Dov wanted to give courses, but then the corona pandemic came. He is now planning to start online courses.

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