Jewish Lives in Fabric
Vies juives, d’étoffes et de nuages
Are eyes the mirrors of the soul?
- The Jewish Girls of Telz from Yesterday seen by Today’s Lithuanian Girls/
– Jeunes filles juives d’hier à Telz vues par des jeunes filles lituaniennes d’aujourd’hui à Telsiai
This artistic contribution for the project “ Bat Kama At?” is the creation of 3 students of the 3rd year class of Fabric design under the high-minded direction of Pr. Zita Incirauskiene, in Telsiai Art Academy, a section of Vilnius Art Academy.
These photographs were taken during the first presentation of the works in the Art Academy, on January 2013.
The approach of the young artists Simona Remeikaitė, Kristina Balsytė and Rytė Krakauskaitė, is the most rewarding answer that we can imagine to our own endeavour as historians and authors. It captures not only the vulnerability and the features of the young woman and girls from Telz during the flourishing interwar period, but also the fragility of the historical traces. Doing so, these thoughtful artistic contributions become powerful reminiscence in the present and a sign, a call for keeping this fragment of outstanding educational history for the future.
The high quality of these three contributions foreshadows the place they are going to take in the exhibition: Yavne Telz School Was Life.
- My work for Bat Kama At project is an interpretation of the school life. It is composed with a few diplomas of the girls and the image of a dress/uniform.
The diplomas are printed on fabric. As well, the uniform is made from the same fabric used as a frame to present the work. As a whole, it appears as a classroom blackboard on the wall.
Lives in fabric
I imagine the bright school life before the tragedy, each detail sounds familiar to us. We are the same age the girls were, maybe we have similar thoughts on our minds despite the fact that we live in another century.
Telšiai is my native town, and through this project I know about it more.
I’m glad to be a part of this project.
– With this work for Bat Kama At project, I wanted to thrill the hearts of all.
For that, I chose feminine accents – lace, handkerchiefs, women’s accessories. These subtle details convey sensitivity, gentleness, goodness, which connect these 500 killed women and girls with the present and future generations of women and girls. I have put together the details in a simple cardboard box, which symbolizes simplicity and impermanence.
The second installation confronts the tragic death of women and girls, with or without portraits on blank white matter sheets. Sometimes an added detail of feminine lace softens and gives the sensitivity to the evocation. These portraits and blank sheets aim to recollect the affected girls and woman for future generations, as if the future depends on this reminiscence: implicitly, the fact that their portraits appear on white sheets prevents from the recurrence of such events.
In this work I wanted to pay attention to the delicacy and tenderness of women, powerless to defend themselves and other women. I hope that this imaginative recreation incites you to think not only about the past but about the present and the future.
I hope that seeing our works has the power to change at least the perspective of one person among hundreds of minds about the future. I hope that what have happened to the Jewish girls of Gymnasium Yavne could never be repeated, and that their behavior as young educated girls serves as a model.
Feminine accents – lace, handkerchiefs, women’s accessories
– My contribution to the project “Bat kama at?” is named “Souls”.
This work includes eight different textile elements bedecked with calligraphy and photo prints. These eight parts constitute the narrative of an abstract and spiritual story of the students of the Yavne Gymnasium, in Telz, Telsiai before WWII.
My work starts with school and classes pictures, then continues with calligraphied texts about the gymnasium in English and Lithuanian. To that I added details from portraits of the girls, specially of their eyes which are supposed to be the mirror of the souls. I finished my “story” with calligraphied Jewish prayer. The texts and photographs are printed on a material light and transparent like veils or clouds.
Like veils and clouds
calligraphy: Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God
I also wrote a Jewish prayer
The first text in calligraphy is something that I wrote shortly about the Yavne Gymnasium history in Lithuanian.
On another element, I wrote the translated text of the mezuza in English. I wrote:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources. And these things that I command you today shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you go on the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be an ornament between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I also wrote a Jewish prayer on another element. I took the prayer from this website http://tora.lt/ .