Time for Aleph Bet
This April, the Jewish Museum of Australia will launch its first exhibition of 2011: Aleph Bet, a family-friendly, double offering that explores the Hebrew alphabet. This vibrant, colourful and dynamic pair of exhibitions for adults and children will launch on Sunday 15 April with a free open day.
Museum Director Rebecca Forgasz says “Aleph Bet is the first exhibition to be curated in line with our new strategic goal of engaging young and new audiences. This dynamic and creative exhibition and program taps into the heart, mind and soul. There are short courses for those looking for intellectual stimulation, meditation for those wanting a spiritual journey and curator talks and art workshops for those looking for emotional connections and experiences.”
Presented in the Loti Smorgon Gallery, Aleph Bet: the artistry and poetry of the Hebrew alphabet, works by Marc Lopez Bernal is a mystical and poetic journey through the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. French contemporary artist Marc Lopez Bernal has created large-scale, mixed-media artworks, some measuring up to 2 x 3 metres, forming an exciting and complex landscape of letters.
Bernal, who graduated from the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts in Paris, says, “The artworks show the letters at work by breathing life into them. In enhancing my understanding of the spiritual and the metaphysical meanings behind the Hebrew alphabet I have deepened my personal understanding. I hope audiences have a similar experience.”
Bernal’s Aleph Bet uncovers the kabbalistic origins and associations of the Hebrew alphabet while reflecting the artist’s personal journey through his Sephardic Jewish origins. The Museum’s three-week awareness meditation workshops use Bernal’s works as vehicles for mindfulness and tap into traditional kabbalistic meditation techniques.
Spatial, sensual and magnificent, Bernal calls upon all natural elements in his recreation of the Hebrew alphabet. This major exhibition will be the first showcase of Bernal’s works in Australia.
In the Gross Gallery the family-friendly Aleph Bet: playing with the Hebrew alphabet features 50 colourful, quirky and interesting objects from the Jewish Museum of Australia’s collection, that each relate to a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Jessica Rynderman, exhibition curator says, “Aleph Bet: playing with the Hebrew alphabet uses objects from the Museum’s collection as tools for engagement and enquiry, relating them to the Hebrew alphabet and selected Hebrew words. Children are encouraged to explore the letters of the aleph bet, their sounds, shapes and the similarities and differences they have to English. We are excited to create an opportunity for children and adults to playfully engage together with the Hebrew language, whether they speak it or not.”
With objects displayed at child-friendly heights, and a range of fun activities, this exhibition is a wonderful way to engage children with language and words through history and objects.
Pieces include a handmade Gypsy doll from Belsen, Germany 1945, a 1930s embroidery of a Good Witch and a 19th-century wooden model of Noah’s Ark comprising 77 individually carved wooden animals and figures, a large selection of which will be on display.
There will be regular drop in activities for children and families, which include activity sheets, stencils, colouring in, games and books free with Museum entry.
In addition, there will be art-and-craft workshops, jewellery making and yoga workshops for children; short courses and a series of meditation sessions in the upstairs gallery for adults.
The exhibition opens with a free family-friendly open day on Sunday 15 April between 10am–5pm, followed by a late-night opening on Tuesday 17 April for night owls including a mingle with the artist session over a glass of wine at 6pm.
Source: JMA press release