Dennos Museum to feature ‘Entire Life in a Package’ exhibit

Orna Ben-Ami

TRAVERSE CITY — The Dennos Museum Center (DMC) at Northwestern Michigan College will present “Entire Life in a Package,” an international touring exhibition reflecting one important story in the life of all refugees.

The exhibit runs from Feb. 3 to May 5. The exhibition is the work of Israeli sculptor Orna Ben-Ami of Tel Aviv, who uses iron as her primary material for her artistic expression.

“Entire Life in a Package” is the story of millions of refugees with millions of packages, suitcases, sacks. “Life packages” that hold the desire to survive.

In it, they pack both hopes and pains. Behind every package there is someone looking for a place.

The objects that people take, in one package, represent their identity and sense of belonging, their memories and hopes for the future.

In this exhibition, Ben-Ami sculpts the packages carried by refugees shown in Reuter’s new photos in iron and then mounts them to the photo in place of the photographic image of the package.

Iron expresses the will to hold on strongly to the identity which the objects symbolize. It renders them eternal and meaningful, like metal monuments.

Iron brings out the physical and emotional weight of the journey.

The combinations that Ben-Ami creates between the images taken by Reuters’ photographers and her iron sculptures, are the heart of this exhibition.

This exhibition premiered at the UN Headquarters in New York City and the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva in 2017. It comes to Michigan following its showing at six museums in Germany, Italy and Switzerland in 2017 and 2018.

“I am pleased that we were able to bring this work to the Dennos Museum Center and share it with museums across the state,” said Gene Jenneman, executive director, “I had the privilege of visiting Orna in Tel Aviv last October. She is a highly respected artist in Israel and indeed around the world.

“The work in this exhibition is very relevant to the times in which we live. We are fortunate to be able to showcase her work in Traverse City. I hope it will inspire thoughtful dialogue and greater awareness of the plight of refugees around the world.”

Ben-Ami will be present for the museum members and guests opening of the exhibition on the evening of Feb. 2. She will offer a presentation on her work at 7:15 p.m. in Milliken Auditorium, followed by a book signing.

For more information on the museum and its programs, go to or call (231) 995-1055. The Dennos Museum Center is located at 1410 College Drive in Traverse City, at the entrance to the campus of Northwestern Michigan College.


Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or

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