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ON HOME AND DISAPPEARANCE

Embroidery, calligraphy, spray paint, wire, cut acetate, 15x40x60”, 2023

The upcoming group show “Altneueland” at the Museo Ebraico celebrates the 100th anniversary of Theodore Herzl’s book of that title, envisioning what a modern, sovereign homeland for the Jewish people could look like. The museum is dedicated to telling the story of the historic Jewish community of Lecce, Italy. Artists were asked to create site specific works based on this theme for the show, which will be up for 1 year.

 

This work is about the consequences of not having a secure, permanent place in life. Referencing both the Jewish community of Lecce (who were expelled during the Inquisition in the 1500s) and Middle Eastern Jews, who were subjected to the same process in the last century. The flowers are made of Arabic words like acceptance, permancence, posterity and security, things these people did not have. Painted to match the stone of the museum (the community’s former synagogue), the flowers are intentionally left partially unpainted so they appear to be dissipating. This and the precarious way they are suspended in midiar evokes the fragile nature of our security, of lack thereof. Flowers are an ideal choice for reinforcing this fragility as they contain inherent tension, representing youth, hope and beauty but also impermanence and death. Embroidery hoops provide the framework, in a nod to the original Lecce community who were known during the Middle Ages for their work in the textile industry. 

 

Even if Israel today isn’t perfect, its effect on people the world over is a force to be reckoned with and appreciated by those who know all too well what the lack of it can mean.

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