“Inheritance of a Story” Multidisciplinary Showcase on Diaspora

21 Nov

Inheritance of a Story presents the poetic prose of Clarice Lispector, mystical Brazilian writer of Jewish-Ukrainian descent, juxtaposed with works of three New York artists Anya Roz, Tanya Levina and Yuliya Levit. This show explores the tales of strangers in strange lands and recurrent narratives of Jewish diaspora. Narratives often repeated in every generation.

Opening Reception
Saturday, November 23rd at 8pm
Live set performed by an Israeli-American violinist, singer and composer Efrat Shapira. Read of Clarice by Steve Dalachinsky.

Brazilian Endowment for the Arts
240 East 52nd Street
New York, NY.


Anya Roz, “Iliyahu”, digital photograph

Our stories make us who we are. Every generation has a chance to start from scratch and to write its own history afresh. Why then do we always go back to the narratives that have been handed down to us for eons of time. Why do we repeat them in every generation, again and again, and our fate like our stories gets rewound like an old clock as self-fulfilled and self-inflicted prophecy. As Russian Jews we share an enormous heritage of common narrative beginning with Torah and extending all the way to the saga of our own Diaspora from former Soviet Union to The United States. From the stories of Haggadah to the stories of the runaway train from Vienna to Rome, we continue to live out the lives of prophets and sages; we continue to repeat their mistakes and to relive their misery and glory. Ours are the tales of strangers in the strange land, tiny David’s trumpeting giants, jesters and maidens outsmarting the establishment. Our stories are our fate that we cannot escape, fate we can only embrace and celebrate and tell our children about.

In our show we celebrate those stories, their timelessness and tireless relevance. We celebrate our people who are able to see beauty in the dirty road of the forgotten and forsaken village, who are always capable to absorb any culture Russian, Brazilian or American, but to always remain exactly who we are.

About the Artists

ANYA ROZ is an artist, photographer and designer residing in New York on the Spanish side of Harlem, was born and raised in Moscow in an eclectic family of artists, musicians and photographers, learning to live in the middle of a self generated art scene – visual material being the source of both self exploration and collaboration. Her work can be found at: http://www.anyaroz.com/

For a child in the aggressively atheist soviet state, where religious literature has long been equated to opium and as said literature was in fact, a dangerous thing to own – the best place for learning the Torah stories was, strangely enough, the very secular classical art museums, condoned by the state under the banner of “culture”. Rembrandt, Velasquez, El Greco, Michelangelo, countless others, the stories their pictures contained were strange, exhilarating and demanded an explanation. They were, apparently, important enough to be retold by the great masters again and again, as the centuries passed, styles replaced one another and cultures transformed. Because the stories weren’t presented as Jewish, the rest of the world claimed them for their own. The soviet teachings allocated them to the realm of myth. But unlike other ancient tales (Egyptian and Babylonian, Roman and Greek), these seemed strangely relevant- hinting at their deeper meaning, their continuous mapping of the modern psyche, their connection to the living tradition. Only later, in the context of the Jewish thought it had become apparent just how alive these stories are, how ever-present in the contemporary Jewish life, connecting the generations thousands of years apart.

TANYA LEVINA is a New York based painter originally from Minsk, Belarus. Her artistic inclinations showed at a very young age as she started compulsively drawing on every surface in sight including books, walls and papers around the house. As she grew older, Tanya gave up defacing household property and started using drawing and painting as an outlet for documenting surroundings and expressing affection. Tanya often sets her subjects in extremely colorful, exaggerated and slightly surrealistic settings, drawing inspiration from her environment, travel experiences, as well as works by Dali, Klimt and Monet. Her artwork can be found at: www.tanyalevina.com

Ancestors who have passed long ago often exist for us only in small, old, faded black and white photographs and snippets of recollections from living relatives. Minimal information often gives these people in photographs mysterious and enchanting qualities, as imagination strives to fill in the blanks by scrutinizing over every gesture and expression, every detail in the background. In her series of mixed media paintings, made from very old photos, Tanya will bring back to light her family members from a very distant past, re-imagining their stories and projecting her impressions of them with against mythical backdrops.

YULIYA LEVIT is a documentary and lifestyle photographer. Ever since she was helping her father develop film under the red light, seeing photographs come to life, she knew she was in it, and there was no way out. Yuliya wanted to be a photographer eventually. She took some detours (computer science, math) but ended right where she wanted to be and couldn’t be happier. For the last year Yuliya has been working on a documentary Speak Memory Project trying to hear and preserve memories and stories of her grandparent’s generation. Yuliya currently resides in New York and works as a professional photographer. Her work can be found at: http://www.yuliyalevit.com/

While talking to her peers who immigrated to US when they were kids, Yulia was always struck by how visual and materialistic their dreams were of where they were going. A land of abundance of THINGS they always craved and never could have in Russia (USSR). So in a way, the kids, when they were changing countries, were looking forward to something. At the same time, their parents – and older generation, were looking back, reflecting on what they were leaving behind: friends, family history, pictures, favorite places in the city, memories, dreams- all very spiritual, non-material ideas. This juxtaposition was always interesting to Yulia. This project, a series of portraits and interviews is a research on this subject, things lost, left behind and found.

The exhibition runs from November 23rd to December 6th, 2013. Inheritance of a Story is sponsored by The BluePrint Fellowship Alumni Projects, COJECO, the UJA Federation of New York, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and co-sponsored by Ticún Brasil.

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