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The Hidden Light

Given the choice of expulsion or conversion to Christianity in 1492, many of Spain’s Jews chose to publicly convert, while secretly clinging to Jewish practice. Their secretive rituals were passed down, generation after generation.

My piece began with a fascination for lions, symbology that denotes pride, power, and protection for Jews. The saw blade and pitchfork tines form the lion’s upper and lower teeth, and a chair back makes up the lower jaw. Various wooden pieces make up the whiskers and face.

After the image of a lion was complete, I began to see a menorah in the piece. The pitchfork tines became the candelabra branches, the wooden top a shamash. The pitchfork and saw also represent a cage, like those conversos in Spain who hid their religion. The lions in the center came last, a reinforcement of the protection of those converts, and of all people that feel they must hide their religion and culture.

Listen to Ed talk about this piece in a video

Graphite on paper, pitchfork tines, saw, various wood and metal pieces
40 x 35 x 11 in.

[Hover over the image to magnify it]