I have been so busy, moving studios and preparing for shows, that I forgot to post my most recent installation. This is a piece that I made to continue exploring aspects of Jewish history. It is quite different from the work that I ordinarily do, and I enjoy working outside the box (or in this case, outside the suitcase).
The piece is completely symbolic just as "Treatise," another installation that I made regarding Jewish history, was. To see information about that, check it out here. But before you leave this page, here is the symbolism for "Diaspora:"
The books used within the trunk are by the author Sholom Aleichem and printed in Yiddish. Sholom Aleichem was a prominent author who wrote the stories that inspired “Fiddler on the Roof.” “Fiddler” depicts just what many of these people endured to stimulate them to come to this country. Many (not all) Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe spoke, read, and wrote in Yiddish. The use of books also speaks to the importance of education in the Jewish tradition.
Why Aspen Trees--
Aspen trees were painted on the spines of the books. Aspens are connected by their root systems, just as we are all connected. Tree symbolism is important in Judaism as well. The Tree of Life is symbolic of the Torah (Jewish written law).
The trunk lid bears photographs of immigrants, including my family members, that had the courage to leave all that they knew behind to come to an unknown country. The branches and yellow leaves symbolize hope for a better life, and the connections that we have to one another. There is also a nod to the connections that occur when we move from one place to another as if branching out.
Why Trunk and Suitcases--
The trunk and suitcases symbolize the travel to what was hoped would be a better life for themselves and their families upon arriving in the United States.
I am eternally grateful to my ancestors for having the courage to leave all that they knew behind to make what they hoped would be a better life for their family in this country. Thanks for reading!