If you haven’t already heard, Storytellers is the latest exhibition and program series taking place at the Jewish Museum of Australia. Unlike anything the Museum has done before, two artists-in-residence are taking over the gallery space to develop and show their work practices, using the Museum’s vast collection as inspiration. Storytellers invites its audience to discover stories they’ve never heard before, while also asking them – what’s your story?
On one side of the gallery, performance-maker Deborah Leiser-Moore is busy constructing her new piece (to be performed later this year at Footscray Community Arts Centre) titled M: Kaddish for the Children. Deborah is a performance maker, performer, lecturer and director whose bold, highly visual and physical works use multiple theatrical languages to investigate culture and contemporary issues. Her work explores the Greek mythological figure, Medea from a feminist perspective, and the significance of the Jewish mourner’s prayer, the kaddish – which in traditional Jewish culture women are excluded from.
Deborah says, “I love it at the Museum. I think the residency is a perfect match for this work as I grapple with the impact of the themes of mourning and, as a woman, saying Kaddish.”
On the other side of the gallery sits Anna Hechtman, an embroiderer and textile designer who focuses on embroidery, crochet, weaving, tapestry and natural dyeing. During her residency you’ll be able to sit with Anna as she creates embroidered challah covers inspired by the Museum’s collection. A selection of various examples of embroidery from the collection, for example torah covers and challah covers, will also be on display. While audiences watch her work there will also be embroidery materials for them to pick up and create their own unique piece.
Anna says, “I’m looking to develop new challah covers inspired by the Museum’s collection and my research that will help inform workshops and possibly embroidery kits or a series of cloths. We all live such busy lives where our attention is constantly being divided amongst so many things at the same time. Sitting down and just focusing on a needle, fabric and thread is the complete opposite – a true slow craft.”
There is also an accompanying program series, including embroidery workshops, a panel discussion and an artist talk. Tickets can be purchased here.
See the Museum as you’ve never seen it before and prepare to be inspired, comforted, moved and confronted by the power of storytelling.