A Sense of Belonging

May 6, 2010
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Mirta Kupferminc

Some of the most significant things that shaped my life occurred before I was born. I am a visual artist, and my work is deeply related to Jewish identity — to who I am and where I live. I was born in Argentina as the youngest daughter of immigrants (father from Poland and mother from Hungary); both survived Auschwitz. Today, I am married and I have two sons and an extended family. And, of course, Argentina is home to one of the biggest, most cultivated, and largest Hebrew-speaking Jewish communities in the world. And yet, it exists in the shadow of active antisemitism. Though raised in a traditional home, I went to an English rather than a Jewish school. The awareness that I belonged to the Jewish people made me feel slightly “different,” as though I had a special place in the world. Judaism was not born in its homeland, but in the desert, in exile. It was born not as a child of the land but rather of the letter. For this reason, and because my parents were exiled from their homelands, I always felt a sense of belonging to many places: I feel that I am neither a typical Argentinean, nor a Polish or Hungarian woman. I am an amalgamation of threaded identities. I also feel a strong connection to Israel. I chose to study visual arts, to paint. Always conscious of the Torah’s prohibition against visual representation, I was forced to use the visible to reveal what is out of sight. That philosophical underpinning to my art, along with my multiple identities, gave me a specific place in life, a road to follow, a sense of search — a message to be shared through my art with all of my contemporaries.

The exquisite and provocative paintings of Mirta Kupferminc from Argentina are on exhibit at HUC-JIR in New York until the end of June http://www.huc.edu/museums/ny/exhibits/09/mirta/.

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The work of Mirta Kupferminc, who was born in Buenos Aires in 1955, has been exhibited in Argentina, Cuba, China, England, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, Uruguay, and the United States. Her work has earned numerous local and international awards.

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