“If we were able to live within memory, we would not have needed to consecrate lieux de memoire in its name… Memory is a perpetually actual phenomenon, a bond tying us to the eternal present; history is a representation of the past.”
Pierre Nora “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire”
Alexandra Dworkin | Michal Julia Fliner | Tanya Gershman
Michal Greenfield | Victoria Kaganovskaya | Sivan Lavie | Aaron Paz Adina Victoria Sumarokova | Oleksii Tarasiuk
What is a homeland for an immigrant or Ole? How can an Ole form a bond to a new country, place and community without personal memory, that “bond to the eternal past”? Can history – the family’s, community’s, national history – be enough to establish a new identity?
The artists presented in this exhibition are engaged with two distinct, parallel but remarkably similar processes:
As artists, they are expected to take materials – clay, paint, fabric, a moment in time – and form from them a distinct aesthetic creation. A new object, meaningful and worthy of public display. As immigrants, they are expected to take materials – memories, histories, traditions, a language – and form from them a clear, distinct identity. A new subject, connected to her or his national past and new community.
But no creative process is easy, perhaps least of all a process entailing reformulation of identity. The artists in this exhibition are all operating in the space between memory and history: their personal memory of another land, of family, places, smells and different customs, and the desire to form from these a new history, one that could explain their new place in the world. This exhibition combines and examines these two processes – the works exhibited explore how much work, intent and invention there are not just in art, but also in Aliya, in immigrating to a new land and formulating a new identity.
The exhibition is the result of a cooperation between the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit HaTefutzot and the Student Authority of the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. The authority assists more than 6,500 students, Olim and Ethiopian, with tuition and other services to ensure their academic success and best integration into society. From this vast student body, 9 were chosen to take part in a series of workshops leading towards this exhibition. In these workshops we tried to examine together with the students questions concerning language, family, points of view, religion and more, following their Aliya and first steps in Israeli society.
The works exhibited here are the result of this process, and next to them are the words of the students themselves, describing the dilemmas and thoughts that informed their work.
On display until September 23, 2018