2016 Copyright © Renee Rey. All rights reserved.
WHO ARE YOU?
When I was a young child, my dad would ask me, "What story would you like me to read you?" Moses, I replied. "Again?" he asked incredulously? And he read directly from the Bible, and not a children's version. I related to it all: a story of purpose through love, loss, family, revelation, fearlessness, integrity, bravery, freedom, and nationhood.
This interactive mixed-media artwork exhibit and presentation responds to Cultural Sustainability and Democratization. I believe in pride in heritage, and telling of that story. Grounded in a multi-cultural Jewish/Christian/French/Armenian heritage, and birth place in Japan, I believe that everyone is equal, our ancestry is of equal importance, and everyone has a purpose with a positive contribution for society.
In "Who Are You," I focus on Jewish history and tradition. A People that have endured over 3800 years, and have touched, physically and spiritually, almost every corner of the earth. I address 1) the inextricable tie between G-d, Jewish People, and Israel over the millennia, 2) the historical and religious right to Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel, and 3) Jewish universalism and Tikkun Olam, embracing freedom, social justice, and connection with people all around the world.
Through this artwork, I bring relevancy for our age by intersecting history, religion, and tradition with current issues of diversity, global unity, and cultural consciousness. In my studio practice, I challenge traditional notions of art and the written word, creating innovative expressionist compositions rooted in Jewish identity, memory, and self-reflection. Biblical verses and quotes by famous historical Jewish figures are cut out of paper, suspended on pins, and placed backwards on the artwork. The effect becomes a 3-D organic element that plays with visual planes, space and time and informs language by evolving from printed form to sculptural form. The use of mirrors to read the 3-D script is a metaphorical interactive tool for reflecting more deeply on identity and discovering oneself and others in a new way.
The emotional reaction from viewers who have experienced this work has been fascinating. Non-Jews and Jews have shared moving stories of spiritual connection, family history, immigration, and conversion.
And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.
אוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל אַבְרָם לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ:
And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing.
בוְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה:
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you."
גוַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה:
On that day, the Lord formed a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt until the great river, the Euphrates river.
יחבַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כָּרַת יְהֹוָה אֶת אַבְרָם בְּרִית לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ נָתַתִּי אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת מִנְּהַר מִצְרַיִם עַד הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר פְּרָת:
The Kenites, the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
יטאֶת הַקֵּינִי וְאֶת הַקְּנִזִּי וְאֵת הַקַּדְמֹנִי:
And the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Rephaim,
כוְאֶת הַחִתִּי וְאֶת הַפְּרִזִּי וְאֶת הָרְפָאִים:
And the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
כאוְאֶת הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶת הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְאֶת הַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְאֶת הַיְבוּסִי:
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומייה
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
עין לציון צופיה.
עוד לא אבדה תקוותינו
התקווה בת שנות אלפיים
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
ארץ ציון וירושלים
Naphtali Herz Imber, Poet, 1878
GET THEE OUT OF THY COUNTRY
BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE
I WILL NOT FORSAKE THY PEOPLE ISRAEL
THEIR FAITH IS THEIR PASSPORT
THE HOPE OF TWO THOUSAND YEARS
ONE LAW AND ONE ORDINANCE
A NEWER THINK
FLIGHT OF UNITY
15"w x 18" high
Mixed Media on Paper
(CLICK ON IMAGES BELOW FOR LARGER VIEW)