Freedom Imagined, Freedom Lived: An Artistic Review of the Passover Promise

Maarten van der Heijden

Artists, musicians and poets from around the world explore their personal vision of freedom in a new Museum of Imajewnation exhibit at the JCC Arts and Education Building, 2 Millstone Campus Drive in Creve Coeur in St. Louis, MO.

The exhibit features works in paint, digital art, sculpture, illustration, glass and metal of artists from Missouri, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Oregon, as well as Holland, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom. Works from noted artists including Jewish Art Salon artists Tobi Kahn, Miriam Stern, and Maarten van der Heijden will be featured.
Till March 28, 2013. Hours: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m and 6:00-7:30 p.m. Mon - Fri; 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Sunday. Closed March 26-27. Admission is free.

The exhibit will be the fifth in a series of inquiries sponsored by the Museum of Imajewnation, which strives to engage people’s imagination and encourage interaction with Jewish culture, including its ritual objects and customs, texts and stories, history and legends, and chants and music. The premise of the ongoing project is that the artist and artwork are in inextricably bound together and that the making of art can release the wisdom of the culture’s artfacts, texts, and music in addressing contemporary concerns.
“We challenged artists to convey their interpretations of freedom within the lens of the Passover seder experience,” said Naomi Fishman, founder and exhibit curator for The Museum of Imajewnation. “Our exhibit will illustrate various definitions and experiences of freedom that shed light on the warring struggles for freedom taking place everyday around the world.”
The Jewish calendar carves out one week each year for conversations about oppression and freedom. The experience of Israelite slavery in Egypt, recounted each year on Passover, helped forge the identity and sensibilities of Jewish people and instilled a passion for justice and reverence for life.
The Haggadah, which serves as the foundational script for the Passover seder, invites improvisations around 15 actions, using words, ritual objects, songs, insights and knowledge to create this year’s story of liberation from slavery.
“Celebrating Passover is always a work in progress,” Fishman explained. “The role of art is pivotal in moving this multifaceted conversation about Passover forward and making its story more accessible.”
The Museum of Imajewnation will also host several key events within the exhibit space:
  • Thursday, March 14, 1:30-3:00p.m.: Nancy Berg, professor of Hebrew language and literature at Washington University in St. Louis, will review the novel “The Miracle Hater” by Shulamit Hareven as a point of reference for the exhibit.  This event is held in conjunction with the Brodsky Library.
  • Sunday, March 17, 2:00-4:00p.m.: A concert in story, poetry, music and comedy with Rabbi James Goodman, Andy Curry, and surprise guests.
“Our objective is to present this exhibit as a pilot project for a larger multicultural exhibit of visions of freedom, representing the aspirations for freedom of people from different countries, religions, and families,” Fishman said.  “Artists have the ability to engage the community in the thoughtful conversation about freedom and its boundaries.”
More info here

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