Muslim and Jewish women explore menstruation, breastfeeding and mourning through writing, art and traditional texts.
Last year, a group of Jewish and Muslim women artists met regularly to study texts from their respective traditions, sharing how their heritage informs their artistic output. This collective was convened by the grassroots Shema & Iqra': The Jewish-Muslim Text Project, which brings together Muslims and Jews using religious texts as a springboard for dialogue. Called Blood, Milk and Tears, the initial project explored each traditions’ response to menstruation, breastfeeding and mourning, considering connections between gender, creativity, religiosity and identity.
FENTSTER invited the Blood, Milk and Tears Collective to make new work reflecting on their personal experiences and the religious practices that often marginalize them as women. The process began with further text study and by sharing stories with the creation workshops facilitated by noted printmaker, painter, fabric and book artist Rochelle Rubinstein. The result is a dense assemblage in the window gallery of long paper scrolls interpreted in inventive ways by a diverse, inter-generational group of women drawing upon a range of media including painting, print-making, collage, drawing, textiles and original poetry written in Arabic, English and Hebrew. Many scrolls incorporate textual sources from the Quran, the Hebrew Bible, Jewish prayer as well as Sufi mysticism.
The project features collaborations between longtime neighbours and new friends, several mother-daughter duos as well as students and scholars. Whether practicing or secular, each woman's relationship to her cultural and religious heritage encourages thoughtful reflection on her place within that tradition and on the significance of our blood, milk, and tears.
Participating Artists | Asma Ali | Fredelle Brief | Siham Chowdhury | Caryn Joy Colman | Karen Gold | Maysa Haque | Alisha Kaplan | Sarah Katz | Sharon Katz | Sara Abdel-Latif | Hannah Mayne | Tiferet Nashman | Sumaira Naz | Nilofar Noor | Rula Kahil | Kanwal Rahim | Sharon Ross | Shlomit Segal | Manaal Syed | Soheila Zarrabi
Developed by Evelyn Tauben, Shari Golberg and Rochelle Rubinstein
Join us for the launch of the new FENTSTER installation on International Women's Day and meet the Muslim and Jewish women who created artwork for Blood, Milk and Tears. The evening will feature vocalist Aviva Chernick and poet Sheniz Janmohamed sharing a new collaboration – two women exploring their relationship to their spiritual and creative practices through movement, sound and ritual.
Blood, Milk & Tears was developed by Evelyn Tauben and Dr. Shari Golberg together with Rochelle Rubinstein with support from Dr. Nevin Reda, Samira Kanji and Richard Chambers.
Myseum Intersections is an annual festival of exhibitions and events showcasing different perspectives of the city's natural, cultural, and historic diversity.
Rochelle Rubinstein is a Toronto-based printmaker, painter, fabric and book artist. In Toronto, she is represented by Loop Gallery, where her solo exhibitions are held regularly. Her work has been exhibited in such diverse places as the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland; Yeshiva University Museum, New York; Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan; and McMaster Museum of Art, Canada. Rubinstein's work can be found in public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. As a community arts facilitator, her workshops and projects involving groups such as health workers, battered women, people with eating disorders, seniors with depression, and youth at risk, are based upon methods that are central to her or art practice: drawing, printmaking, sewing and bookmaking. www.rochellerubinstein.com
Project launch with the women sharing in the study of texts from the Quran and the Hebrew Bible.
Dr. Nevin Reda (Assistant Professor of Muslim Studies, University of Toronto) lead the text study together with Dr. Shari Golberg
Our text study workshop was hosted by the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Toronto
Transcribing the word 'holy' in Arabic and Hebrew onto one of the paper scrolls that will make up the installation.
Asma Ali and Tiferet Nashman collaborating on a scroll.
Siham Chowdry and Sharon Ross working together on a text piece that will form the basis of their scroll.
Using recycled cardboard and faded memories; Evan Tapper recreates his grandmother’s 1930s kitchen in Winnipeg to reflect on past and present hardships of starting life anew as an immigrant.
In a new site-specific installation for FENTSTER, artist Evan Tapper recreates his late grandmother Sylvia's 1930s kitchen using recycled cardboard to reflect on past and present hardships of starting life anew as an immigrant. The installation’s title originates from a well-known 1920s Yiddish song, Di Grine Kuzine (The Greenhorn Cousin) about an expectant newcomer to America who has become disillusioned by the harsh realities of immigrant life. Like the young woman in the song, Sylvia toiled at part-time jobs, saving to bring her husband to Winnipeg from Poland before WWII, despite being swindled by a fraudulent immigration agent.
Hearing this song in his youth, Tapper mistook the unfamiliar Yiddish words to mean “The Green Kitchen.” In the cardboard kitchen filled with green Wandering Jew paper plants, a young Sylvia sits alone, waiting. As with many cultures, for Jewish immigrants the kitchen is often a locus of memory and sharing enduring traditions through food. The installation raises questions about the responsibility of descendants of immigrants to support new arrivals to our country and prods us to consider what is handed down and what is lost in translation—between cultures, between places, between generations—through the immigrant experience.
Born in Winnipeg, Evan Tapper lives in Toronto. He received an MFA from the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University. Tapper was a resident artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu Japan, and the Jewish Museum New York. His animations, videos, performances and installations have been exhibited throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia. Tapper’s work was featured at Nuit Blanche, Toronto, Melbourne International Animation Festival, Tate Modern, and has been broadcast on CBC. Tapper serves as Director of the Office of Continuing Studies at OCAD University and Lecturer at the University of Toronto. He is currently working on an ambitious experimental documentary animation, My Dybbuk, about the life of Canadian theatre director John Hirsch.
AUGUST - OCTOBER 2016
Celebrating the food history of one of Toronto’s first Jewish neighbourhoods through a creative reimagining of the past.
Inspired by Mandel’s Creamery, a dairy shop that left its trace on Baldwin Street through the hand-painted Yiddish lettering remaining on its front window years after the Mandels moved on. The window and its Yiddish signage made headlines last summer when the OJA saved it from destruction after a new business replaced the Italian café that had long preserved this unique piece of Toronto’s Jewish past. Pass by Fentster day or night to get the flavour of our city’s original Jewish food culture.
August 14 – October 31, 2016
Monday, August 29, 5 - 8 PM | Public reception with live music & Ashkenazi Jewish nosheray
Curated by Evelyn Tauben (Fentster) together with Dara Solomon (Ontario Jewish Archives)
The second installation in the window gallery is now on view featuring the striking photographs of Aaron Vincent Elkaim. The images track Elkaim’s travels in Morocco, the birthplace of his father, to Jewish sites in various stages of use and abandon. The portfolio reveals the complex layers of the relationships between the Jews of Morocco and their Muslim neighbours, who in many cases continue to be the guardians of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and the shrines to Tzaddikim long after the vast majority of Jews have left.
A Co-Existence was made possible with support from Makom and the Betzalel Culture Fund.
CARPET STORE, Marrakech, Morocco, 2010
TOMB OF RABBI PINTO, Essaouira, Morocco, 2010
ZUBEIDA, Irill Noro, Morocco, 2010
LEBOVIC GIRLS’ SCHOOL, Casablanca, Morocco, 2010
FEAST OF QUESTIONS
MARCH / APRIL 2016
Unpacking symbols of the Passover seder in celebration of Makom’s move into our own place
Edible items on the seder plate act as tactile cues for telling the story of the Exodus during the seder. These foods embody themes of oppression, freedom, the vitality of life and the spring season. Continuing the tradition begun by Rochelle Rubinstein of displaying art in her Mon Ton Window Gallery, two Makom members created our inaugural storefront window presentation. As we move into our new space, we move towards a holiday with a massive move at its core. Architect / artist Joanne Frisch and curator / artist Evelyn Tauben teamed up to design an installation exploring six new questions for you to chew on, each related to the seder plate foods.