Making "Treatise," the art inspired by the Holocaust last year, was such a moving and enriching experience that I have decided to begin another piece of art exploring an aspect of Jewish history. This time, I am working on something that is more autobiographical in nature. Before I explain my intentions for this piece, I want to thank Rabbi Amy Perlin for encouraging me to continue the artistic journey that I started relating to Jewish heritage.
My family came to the United States through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. The photographs of heavily bearded men and stoic-looking women have fascinated me for years. When I look into their faces, I try to see my father, mother, and grandparents with various levels of success. I wonder at the distance my family traveled to get to the United States in miles and in emotions. I am impressed at their courage to leave all that they knew to come to a strange land. Then I am awed at the distance they traveled once coming to these shores. After all, no one can believe that I grew up Jewish in West Virginia!
I am also intrigued by other family histories. Therefore, for my next piece I am planning to make art that explores Jewish immigration to the United States. With that in mind, I have found an old trunk. Once that trunk was in my possession, ideas began flooding into my consciousness, and I wanted to use photographs of my family and of other families as part of the piece. Right now I am in the hunting- and- gathering stage of the process, and am looking for photographs and stories of immigrants. As with "Treatise," I will be using books as an integral part of the piece. This time, I am using Yiddish books because Yiddish was the common thread that weaved the immigrants together after settling in the United States. The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts , is providing me with books. After working on "Treatise," I know that my vision for the art can take unexpected directions, and I am looking forward to the twists and turns that occur while making "Migration." Stay tuned....