Tuesday, March 29, 2011


                                  Small House Uncertain Walls, 11" x 18" x 18",
                                         rolled newsaper, Hebrew and Arabic

“Yiddish” is the Yiddish word for Jewish, so Yiddishkayt means Jewishness, not necessarily as it relates to speaking Yiddish, the language.

At the coming meeting of my Jewish Women Artists group, we will be speaking on this topic: “Is there something in our DNA which compels us (or not) to express our Yiddishkayt in our art? (or close, we are each free to go off on a tangent if we wish, within an informal boundary). But I can speak directly to this. I am Jewish, a woman, an artist in equal measure, separately and inseparably. Yiddishkayt is so fastened to my bones that (probably) no recent work of art that I create escapes its influence, and if it isn't apparent, it’s just under the surface. My need to put at least one single aleph or beys into the lines somewhere begins at the inception of the piece and is there for the duration.

My paper sculptures are clear about this. If they contain Hebrew and/or Yiddish and/or Arabic they are satisfying, and if not, something seems missing - though not to observers, as other, formal issues are addressed too in these works. My older works were content with other languages. My Yiddishkayt seems now to be intensifying daily, and I can no longer avoid it.

Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Wisconsin, Tea, about these I certainly have opinions, but if I am slightly off in the current pool of information, I’ll just listen. But Israel and Gaza and the West Bank, about these I must know (but cannot) everything happening, every opinion on all sides, so that I can make a fair statement (which always seems to need adjustment). And this is what goes into my current sculpture, this great longing for resolution, this mind-bending conflict of emotions, which nevertheless I address quietly, with straight lines, squares, and big airy spaces, in the hope of bringing some peace at least to myself, a somewhat Buddhist idea possibly.

Please see my previous posts:  Alphabets of the Middle East (Feb 11, 2011), and Works of Paper (Jan 18, 2011).

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