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Twelve Tribes

“‘Look toward the stars and count them,’ God instructs Abraham, “So shall your offspring be.'” (Gen. 15:5)

Since the beginning Jews have gazed at the stars. As shepherds, outside with our flocks, we could not fail to see the majesty of the sky above. And thousands of years ago we made connections with those stars – between the twelve tribes of Israel and the constellations of the heavens.

My piece displays a map of the Milky Way Galaxy drawn on a black leather pelt, a form evocative of the Torah scroll. Fringes, like those of a Jewish prayer shawl, drape along the bottom. The stars are drawn according to their appropriate scientific size and magnitude relative to each other, and they make up the constellations. Each is linked to one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Silkscreened over the stars is a 13th century Spanish menorah. It emphasizes the Jewish People’s role to be a light to the nations, and lights up the sky as much as the stars do. Other iconic images appear in the piece (and in many of my pieces): Leonardo da Vinci’s Draco the Dragon, a Lascaux cave bull, and Picasso’s goat. These represent idols of mine, and man’s artistic progress throughout the years.

Charcoal/pastel/conte on leather pelt, grommets, varied strings and threads
51 x 31 x 4 in.

[Hover over the image to magnify it]