I went to the opening of the Women in the Bible: Tricksters, Victors and (M)others* exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia last week. I was part of the reference group for the exhibition, although i confess i hardly made it to any of the meetings.
The exhibition is wonderful. Rebecca Forgasz, the exhibition curator, has done an great job at pulling together a collection of art that explores, subverts, challenges and honours perceptions of women in the stories of faith. I particularly loved Heléne Aylon’s pieces, ‘The Book that will not close’ and ‘I look into the passages’ [and while you’re wandering around Heléne’s website, have a look at this video]. Sue Saxon’s piece, ‘Sarah and Hagar’ was also remarkable – an image made out of emu shell and layered with meaning… Some of the artworks were especially commissioned for the exhibition, others were collected from galleries across Australia – in particular the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria.
I found it all unexpectedly moving. I think that was to do with the courage of artists who make themselves vulnerable to honour a truth, especially one that costs to say, and is hard to hear… and perhaps it reminded me, again, that resonance and like-mindedness has nothing to do with the language of one’s faith, and all to do with the longing for liberation, a way to live, a story to put ourselves alongside… Our journeys are completely different; the search is so often the same.
There is also a public program of events that’s being held alongside the exhibition, including forums, performances, discussions.
It’s on at the Jewish Museum of Australia, 26 Alma Rd St Kilda, until March 14 next year.
[*How good is that name?!]