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Eltere Mentchen

Loosely translated, the title of this piece means “older ones” or “ancient people.” The Jews, like most venerable cultures, have a deep and historic heritage.

In this piece each symbol recalls bygone days. The shofar, blown on Yom Kippur, revives a common instrument of Judaic tradition, as do the strings and threads hanging from it, signifying the prayer shawl. Between these strings are fireplace chains, as if to pull open a curtain and see into the past.

Underneath this layer is the Lascaux Cave horse of archaic times, man’s first drawing, hovering over the organically shaped pelts of leather. The silkscreen print of the Spanish Menorah from 1385 stands for the ritualistic lighting of candles during Hanukkah. The circular image from Rome, also a silkscreen print, shows two lions, between them the Ark of the Covenant and the temple sanctuary containing the tablets of law.

Each symbol reflects Judaism’s history, yet this piece is personal as well. I recall the soundtrack of my early years through the melodic exuberance of Yiddish being spoken by my grandparents. The language was a rhythm to my mind and connects me to their generation.

Charcoal/conté/silk screen on leather pelts, fire screen pulley, varied strings and threads, animal horn
55 x 23 x 6 in.

[Hover over the image to magnify it]