collage, watercolour and gouache 22”h, 30”w
An animation about rewilding bison into Poland’s Bialowieza Forest was the inspiration for this composition. Bialowieza is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain and is home to 800 European bison. The video instructs one how to behave when encountering a bison which made me realize I am part of a species that is nearly extinct in Poland. I imagined a similar video, instructing one how to react if they encounter a Jew. Typical, kitschy, Ashkenaz art hangs in the trees as a nod to what I lovingly refer to as “dining room” art. These tableaus represent a romanticized nostalgia for shtetl life that was not as rosy as the fictionalized depictions. Once again, people are on the move in a part of the world that knows and recognizes the heavy toll of war and displacement. Many conclusions can be drawn to Jews hiding in the forest with the current crisis with Ukrainians flowing across borders to find a safe haven. I owe a debt to Bentzion Sokiranski and his painting; Blessing of the New Moon, in the Jewish Museum, NYC.