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BETWEEN HEARTH, HEIM AND HOME (article first published : 2007-09-26)

The South African Jewish Museum will present a multimedia exhibition by Leora Farber titled Between Hearth, Heim and Home: Three Jewish Women’s Encounters of the New World which is a component of a larger exhibition, Dis-Location/Re-Location which was produced in collaboration with the design team Strangelove (Carlo Gibson and Ziemek Pater).

Dis-Location / Re-Location is a travelling art exhibition which will tour seven South African Museums until May 2008. Between Hearth, Heim and Home was specifically designed in the context of the South African Jewish Museum.

The exhibition explores the lives of three Jewish women - Bertha Marks (wife of the Victorian entrepreneur Sammy Marks), Freidela Kagan and Leora Farber - factual and fictionalized characters of an intertwined narrative which explores their identities as immigrant or second generation South African Jews.

The exhibition underscores Bertha’s colonial experience of South Africa, Freidela’s experience in the late 1930s, and Leora’s postcolonial experience. While Bertha attempted to retain Anglicized customs and morals, Freidela’s practiced adaptation with close adherence to the religious and cultural values from the Old Country. Leora’s postcolonial identity, as a contemporary Jewish South African, is underpinned by ambivalence and the desire to re-negotiate a place in a new, transforming South Africa.

In the exhibition, the amalgam of Bertha and Leora is represented as engaged in needlework activities, considered 'women's work' in the Victorian era and signifying 'femininity' through docility and labour. The craft of needlework is used as a metaphor for Leora’s attempt to negotiate a sense of being 'African' in a post-colonial environment, by attempting to 'graft' a new identity physically and psychologically onto herself.

Shea Albert, director of the South African Jewish Museum says “This exhibition relates to one of the themes of the South African Jewish Museum – depicting the journeys, hardships and unique integration faced by the immigrants to South Africa. It provides an artistic insight into the process.”

Between Hearth, Heim and Home runs at the South African Jewish Museum from October 1 to November 16. More information from Natacha da Costa on 021 465 1546 or e-mail Natacha@sajewishmuseum.co.za




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