Article - Monsters
Monsters have been part of human lure throughout history. They arouse our fears as well as our curiosity. Monsters are found in Greek and Indian mythology, in China and Japan, among the Vikings and African tribes, as well as the Biblical Nephili and Og king of Bashan and the Golem from Prague in Jewish folklore.
These monsters symbolize the fear of the unknown, which is especially prevalent in young children. At this age anxiety and thoughts turn into terrible creatures hiding in the room, under the bed or in the closet which may come out of hiding at night and cause harm. Every parent experiences his/her child’s fear of these “monsters” and their real fear of them, most commonly at bedtime. This fear can persist for many months.
The monsters featured in this stamp series, created by illustrator Yossi Abulafia and author Ephraim Sidon, are an attempt to deal with these fears by presenting the monsters as funny clumsy characters that, despite their frightening and threatening appearance, are actually good creatures that just want to be loved, encouraged and have friends like everyone else. Thus, this stamp series joins the current trend in children’s literature to “humanize” monsters in order to neutralize the fear they instill in the young.
Like the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are, There’s a Nightmare in my Closet and the Shrek movies, the inhabitants of the Monsters Garden are seemingly frightening and intimidating. But outward appearances can be deceiving. These creatures believe they are beautiful, clever and talented, and they especially crave children’s love. And in fact, the enthusiastic response from tens of thousands of children upon meeting these monsters proves that fear can indeed be conquered through humor.
Moglevi (Cowardly Heart)
Moglevi is a lonely monster with no family or home. He develops many fears, such as a fear of heights, lows, closed spaces, open spaces, public singing, root vegetables, stage fright and fear fright. And he is especially afraid of the monsters Akavishamish (Spider) and Mar-bitz (Hitter) that appear alongside him on each stamp.
But beware! If frightened, Moglevi grows to be 4.68 meters tall, weighing 4.72 tons, he bears his teeth and claws and… and… faints.
Kishta (Go Away)
This is Kishta… and if you ask her this question: Why do you have such fingernails and why are you so scary?” she will give you an angry look and reply: Why do you care – it’s none of your business. Go away, just go away from here! I don’t want to see you.
And she mostly wants Kadmoni, the monster that follows her everywhere, to go away…
Sanani mostly hates everything! But you can’t blame him, after his difficult childhood. He was the fifth child in a family that only had two children. His mother died three years before he was born and when he was just two days old, he was sent off to hunt turnips.
Thus, he hates heartily and there are things he doesn’t like. He even hates the other monsters that are constantly by his side.
The stamp series was inspired by the Monsters exhibit at the Eretz Israel Museum (Initiative and artistic management: Zachi Becker) which was designed and written by Yossi Abulafia and Ephraim Sidon. Also inspired by the book “The Monsters Garden” by Ephraim Sidon and Yossi Abulafia.