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/.