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JoM Arts | Introduction


Welcome to the Arts section of the Jewish Online Museum (JoM). Visual arts, music, writing, performing arts and cuisine have found a place here, acknowledging the breadth and diverse character of Jewish contribution to the Arts in New Zealand. Each of various art forms and individuals that are profiled here in this section are represented in the main, by short excerpted essays from well known writers and commentators on the Arts in New Zealand.

The profiles, interviews, artworks and exhibitions open to the JoM visitor in the Arts section reflect the scholarship of a number of key academics and writers who in their research have asked central questions of their subjects. Is there a Jewish art? Has your Jewish identity shaped your artistic practice? These profiled artists, musicians, composers, writers and poets, reflect on their respective and communal identity and place, and seem often to express the complex ideas and feelings that have inspired both post war émigrés and the new and contemporary generation of creative individuals who continue to make a contribution to the wider arts, music and literary scene in New Zealand.

The Arts section of the JoM has much to thank Leonard Bell and Diana Morrow, editors of Jewish Lives in New Zealand: A History, for. For without the generous contributions of these two editors and some of their commissioned writers for this publication, we would have a much reduced collection of articles, images and critical narratives for the JoM visitor to peruse. Articles by Sarah Sheiff, Paul Spoonley, Stephen Sedley and Miriam Bell have all been developed for the JoM visitor, and Mike Regan has kindly allowed us to create a web friendly version of his essay, Exploring Jewishness in Contemporary Art. Thanks also must go to our JoM interviewers Carole Shepheard, and to Barbara Glaser from the Auckland Philharmonic, who lent their time and expertise to the process of drawing out artists in conversation.

Listen to the full suite of Jonathan Besser's Precious Legacy, or hear Helen Shamroth reflect on her art practice and life as a Jewish woman in New Zealand. Or watch animator Miriam Harris and composer Juliet Palmer's recent video animation, Warsaw, January 2011 and wonder at the talent that can tell such a poignant, beautifully wrought tale. Whichever article, profile, interview or artwork you choose to open here, you will find New Zealanders who have found language and voice for their individual but diverse experience of being Jewish in New Zealand.



Image header (above): Dick Frizzell, (detail) The Old Synagogue. Photograph by Stephen Robinson. Copyright Dick Frizzell. Reproduced here with permission.

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