I was invited by a gallery to create a piece of art for auction to raise money for the reelection campaign of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. In my research, I found out his favorite quote was “Make Trouble” by civil rights leader and US Representative John Lewis. I incorporated images of Peace Bridge, Washington, DC, the State of Ohio, and many of the freedoms we need to fight for. The auction became a bidding war for the piece, which was ultimately sold for much more than asking price. After its purchase, it was given as a gift to Senator Brown.
This piece was created in response to having conversations with my children about the world in which we live.
The environment in which we are raising our kids is so different from what we grew up in, it is hard to navigate what to say to our children and what we are really thinking. How much do we share with them? Is what we impart to them sticking? What are they thinking, truly thinking, when we are speaking with them? Should we say anything?
DNA of Language
10’x5’, Transparent holographic film and asymmetric diffuser film and LED light
The DNA of Language started from my having been a mentor for the Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab. I was to discuss how to think out of the box creatively. They were studying Beginnings in Jewish text.
Sefer Yetzira 2:2, 4-6; 6:4
”Twenty-two elemental letters. God engraved them, craved them, weighed them, permuted them and transposed them, forming with them everything formed and everything destined to be formed. Twenty- two elemental letters. G-d set them in a wheel with 231 gates, turning forward and backward. How did G-d permute them? Alef with them all, all of them with alef; bet with them all, all of them with bet; and so with all the letters, turning round and round, within 231 gates is all that is formed, all that is spoken emerges from one name. Out of chaos G-d formed substance, making what is not into what is. He hewed enormous pillars out of ether that cannot be grasped.”
Being a paper cut artist, I tend to think very linearly. I discussed how one can apply this quote creatively, coming up with several ideas, one of which was a mobile. From there, I discussed materials to create an ethereal look, and what firmament would look like, how this would rotate on its own etc. In all the pairings, there are 924 letters that makes up the Hebrew language. No one is supposed to know where it starts and where it ends.
We have had the freedoms in our world to create all these amazing inventions but in the frenetic pace in which we have created them, we have become slaves to them, hence the duality. As you can see, these inventions range from agriculture, oil drilling, medicine, high technology, commercial harvesting in our oceans to the industrial revolution. We have changed our environment but to what end? The imagery is the same one side to the other. Blue represents freedom. Grey/silver represents slavery.
This piece is based on Ruth Calderon’s 2013 Knesset Speech, in which she urges the bringing together of religious and secular communities. “Homeland Promise Land” stems from our roots, delineating where we came from, linking past generations to future generations, by the layering of one’s history, one’s heritage.
In Calderon’s speech, she tells of Rabbi Rechmanie, whose name means womb, stemming from Rachamim, meaning empathy. The root of these words spells “ramah” which corresponds with number 248 – the number of organs in the body.
Each part of the composition contains symbolism; for example, the umbilical-cord represents the braided twist of challah, indicating nourishment.
Distance and Time
40”x21” Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Art Library permanent and travel collection, Brooklyn, NY