Esther David is a famous Indian painter and writer. She is the daughter of famous zoo expert Reuben David. She has also written a book on wildlife for children. All his work is based on nature. She has been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award2010.
She was born in a Jewish family in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on 17th March 1945. After her schooling in Ahmedabad, she attended the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, as a student of Fine Arts and Art History. Wildlife was a part of her life as her father had established a zoo in Ahmedabad. Since her mother Sarah was a school teacher, it was her father who looked after him. It was because of her father that she got valuable opportunities to explore and learn about wild animals and birds.
By the age of seven, Esther spent more time with her father. After that, her father established the zoo. After that, whenever there were holidays in school, she would go for a walk with her father. Esther’s grandmother was also very kind, she also loved animals and birds. She used to tell him many stories related to her father in her childhood.
When she was in Maharaja Sayajirao University, she met Sankho Chaudhary, a sculptor who taught her sculpture and art history. He always encouraged the students to work differently and learn practically. Esther began writing in the fields of art criticism and art history during her third year of graduation. Then the same teacher encouraged her to improve her natural writing skills.
Her Life as a artist
She held ten exhibitions of his sculptures and paintings at Jehangir Art Gallery and Taj Art Gallery, Mumbai from 1968 to 1979. In addition, the collection of her sculptures ranges from India to abroad. That statue that she made can be seen in the city museum at the Sanskar Kendra in Ahmedabad. Esther David also worked with young women from the secret town huts, which became known as Outsider Art. The sculpture was created by her as part of an exhibition called ‘In the Street, Just Across My Houserjay-Neighbor’ organized during UNESCO, Paris, on 8 March 1994 as International Women’s Day.
She has struggled a lot in his life as a Jew. After her graduation, she then came back to her home in Ahmedabad. She started his career as a Professor in Art History and Art Appreciation after completing the rest of her studies. Along with teaching, she also started doing writing work. Then, she became an art critic of the ‘National English daily Times’ of India.
Her life as a writer
Her first book as a writer is ‘The Walled City which was published by East West Books, Madras. Most of the practice she did as a visual artist brought it to the imagination. It is the story of three generations of Bene Israel Jewish women living in the city of Ahmedabad, India. In addition, it is the story of those who united and divided generations and communities in the walled city of Ahmedabad. Then, the book was translated into French by Sonia Terangal titled La Ville en ses mers, and the edition was published by Philippe Picquier.
She also became a columnist for ‘Femina’, a women’s magazine, “Times of India” and other leading national dailies. In August 2007, She wrote a book for teenagers titled ‘My Father’s Zoo’. Her book is based on the life of his father, Reuben David. Also, she dedicated this book to father Reuben and mother Sarah. Most of her books are on Jews. Despite living in different parts of the country, she tries to tie the Indian Jews together by the common thread that binds them as a whole.
Some of the books were written by Esther David.
- Bene Appetit
- Sefer Rachel – Hebrew Version of the Book of Rachel
- Bombay Bride- A novel published by HarperCollins Publishers in November 2018.
- Ahmedabad – a city with a past.( “… Cities exist in my mind and I often recreate my cities with its fables and city-tales, which are the soul of the city.”)
- Walled city
- By the Sabarmati
- Book of Esther
- Book of Rachel
- My father’s zoo
- Shalom India Housing Society
- The Man with Enormous Wings
- India’s Jewish heritage
- The Jewish heritage of Gujarat
- I’m a seed of the tree,
- 8.46 – Aane Dhara Dhruji
- Gattu tales
Awards and honors were received by Esther David.
- 1999-2000 for the author in residence at Villa Mont Noire, France
- Author in Residence, 2001-2002 at Maison des Ecrivens étrangers et des Traductors, Saint-Nazaire, France
- Received Lifetime Achievement Award from Gujarat Government
- Sahitya Akademi Award in 2010
- Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) Research Award 2011 for “I am the seed of the tree”
- Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) Research Award 2016 for Gain-Appetite