For many Jews in Melbourne whose families were murdered during the Holocaust, Poland is a place of death and darkness—where Jewish life is only a thing of the past. However, Jewish life in Poland did not end after World War Two. There has been a continuous Jewish presence there during the post-war period, and today we are witnessing a ‘revival’ of Jewish life in Poland, which may be small in number but is great in significance.
This exhibition sheds life on Jewish life in post-war Poland through the photographs of prize-winning storyteller, Arnold Zable and emerging photographer, Lindsay Goldberg.
Can we talk about Poland? serves as an invitation to talk about Poland, and asks questions that are pertinent to migrants from many backgrounds. It gives us the opportunity to ask how we feel about Poland; what it means to be a Jew of Polish descent; how we can overcome the negative memories and trauma of the Holocaust, to create new connections and meaning; and what we think of the re-emergence of Jewish life in Poland today. Visitors will be able to contribute their thoughts and feelings on these issues through a range of interactive and participatory elements within the exhibition.
The Jewish Museum of Australia is proud to present True Jews and Patriots: Australian Jews and World War One, an eye-opening exhibition featuring intriguing untold stories of Australian Jewish contributions to the Great War. This exhibition is in partnership with Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia (VAJEX AUSTRALIA).
This timely exhibition investigates the contributions and legacies of Jews who enlisted, through a diverse range of original objects, artwork and artefacts, including Sir John Monash’s combat boots, Oswald Benjamin’s custom made uniform and Algie Sander’s photographs.
Curator Deborah Rechter shines a light on the remarkable participation of nineteenth century Australian Jews in Australian civil society, exemplified by the career of Australia’s highest-ranking officer, Sir John Monash and Australian Jewish soldiers of all ranks.
The Jewish Museum of Australia is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Hired Military Transport Dunera in Australia, with the launch of its exhibition From ‘Aliens’ to Australians – Remembering Dunera 75 Years On. This exhibition explores the cultural life of the Jewish “enemy aliens” while they were interned in camps, for two to five years, in rural NSW and Victoria.
In September 1940, this requisitioned military boat carrying 2,500 “enemy aliens” from Britain, docked in Sydney after an arduous journey, during which the internees endured weeks of mistreatment at the hands of British guards, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding.
“It was a pretty rough voyage it lasted two months and we didn’t even know where we were going. We weren’t let out, except for 10 minutes to run around the deck each day. People slept under benches, on tops of tables, anywhere. There wasn’t enough food. We were robbed of everything we had and a couple of fellows were beaten up. We didn’t even have any shaving gear or soap.” – Leopold Kohn (Jimmy King)
These men were of German and Austrian background, aged between 16 and 60, and mostly of Jewish decent. Though they had committed no acts of violence, and many were already refugees from Nazism and Fascism, their connections to those countries with which England was at war caused them to be considered a threat to national security.
There will be over 80 objects on display that explore how these men continued to produce art, theatre and music. As well as set up systems of currency, practiced sport and religion, maintained a camp bureaucracy, and even attended a camp university. The exhibition not only looks at their experiences while in internment, but also explores their stories after their release, including how many went on to contribute to the Allied war effort in the 8th Employment Company.
Art Behind the Wire exhibition
Duldig Studio’s museum + sculpture garden Art Behind the Wire exhibition – The untold story of refugee families interned in Australia during the Second World War and the Jewish Museum’s From ‘Aliens’ to Australians – Remembering Dunera 75 Years On share a common theme of Jewish internment during WWII.
From ‘Aliens’ to Australians explores the cultural and daily life of Jewish “enemy aliens” the Dunera boys while in internment and during service on the 8th Employment Company of the Australian Military. Behind the Wire portrays another group of “enemy aliens” arriving just three weeks later. These were Jewish families from Singapore, to be interned alongside the ‘Dunera Boys’ at Tatura, in rural Victoria.
Across both these exhibitions runs a spirit of courage and tenacity, detailing the efforts of both the Dunera Boys, and the refugee families to transcend difficult surroundings.
Art Behind the Wire is told through the prism of Austrian sculptor, and ‘enemy alien’ Karl Duldig’s art, drawing from the Duldig archives and the collections of other internee families.
You’ll be excited to learn that Duldig Studio museum + sculpture garden has partnered with the Jewish Museum to offer concessional entry of $10 to all Jewish Museum members. Simply tell the staff on arrival you are a member to receive your discount.
The offer is valid from 1 September – 17 December 2015. The exhibition is open Tuesday and Thursday 1-3pm and every second Saturday of the month, 1-3pm. 92 Burke Road, East Malvern. www.duldig.org.au
In partnership with The Australian Jewish News, the Jewish Museum of Australia is proud to present 120 Years: The people and events making the headlines, a pictorial focused exhibition devoted to the central themes that have constituted Australian Jewish life.
This exhibition features a diverse range of photographs from a commemorative book, The Australian Jewish News at 120, which has been published especially for this milestone occasion, featuring the most significant news stories since the paper began. This exhibition will be displayed in the Dinah and Henry Krongold Family Gallery.
An exhibition of the Jewish Museum Vienna in cooperation with the Jewish Museum of Australia.
Andy Warhol’s Jewish Geniuses set foot in Australia for the very first time. Warhol’s famous portrait series of ten iconic 20th century Jewish figures exhibited in all their screen printed brilliance in the Loti Smorgon Gallery at the Jewish Museum of Australia.
The series includes a dynamic mix of 20th century thinkers, scientists and artists including Sarah Bernhardt (actress), Louis Brandeis (judge), Martin Buber (philosopher), Albert Einstein (physicist), Sigmund Freud (neurologist and founding father of psychoanalysis), George Gershwin (composer), Franz Kafka (writer), Golda Meir (4th Prime Minister of Israel), Gertrude Stein (writer) and The Marx Brothers (actors).
The exhibition explores Warhol’s creation of the ‘celebrity’ image and his selection process behind his Jewish geniuses. It questions how Warhol depicted the public face of famous personalities, and how we receive the images of these famous Jewish figures today.
A contemporary art response, Warhol Now, will accompany Andy Warhol’s Jewish Geniuses in the Museum’s Dinah and Henry Krongold Family Gallery. A dynamic range of artists have been selected to respond to Warhol’s aesthetic and ideology, as well as investigate ideas of identity, fame and celebrity from a contemporary perspective.
The selected artists each responded very personally and very differently, creating an outcome that is both inspiring and diverse. Artists include Ilana Bellville, David Brook, Ede Horton, Shirley Groves-Klebaner, Lisa Krivitsky, Dr Vera Möller, Joseph Wiedenbaum.
Nikki Green is an Australian Jewish artist currently based in Denmark, Western Australia, one of the most bio-diverse hotspots on earth. In this new exhibition, Nikki explores the parallels between Jewish mysticism and the Indigenous Australian connection to the land. Her work combines these two seemingly disparate cultures, revealing a relationship between text, nature and spirit and the ensuing organic patterns that emerge from their intimate connections.
Nikki will also be artist-in-residence at the Museum. She will be facilitating a number of exciting visual art workshops throughout August and September. Visitors are welcome to watch Nikki working on her art and chat with her informally about her practice. Be sure to visit the What’s On page for regular updates.
Remember curling up with a delicious bowl of Bubba’s hot chicken soup? The smell of sweet spring honey cake straight from the oven? Grains of sand beneath your feet on a hot summer’s day? Or the delight of stomping on fallen golden leaves? There’s something special about every season, which is why the Jewish Museum of Australia has curated this highly anticipated exhibition, In Season. Designed specifically for children and families, this exhibition will display rarely seen items from the permanent collection to tantalise and engage all of the senses! The Museum’s Loti Smorgon Gallery will be transformed into a dedicated kid’s space, combining colourful, vibrant design with tactile experiences and more traditional object display.
Let us take you on a playful, educational and stimulating journey – from dress-ups to drawing, cooking to photography – for you and your little ones to discover the beauty of the changing seasons from a uniquely Jewish perspective.
Major exhibition supporter
An exhibition which uses the power of art to communicate great Jewish ideas.
The Jewish Museum of Australia and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (USA), present an exhibition of graphic designed posters that interpret the ideas of Jewish luminaries throughout history.
Drawing on concepts of environmental health, communal belonging, identity and positive existence, the exhibition encourages us to consider which ideas remain relevant and poignant in contemporary times. Visitors can also make their own poster in the gallery workstation or participate in an online discussion of these great ideas!
Local artist Elizabeth Pedler has produced a bold and bright complementary work which mirrors this visual expression of ideas by utilizing symbols to represent their continuous adaptability and organic nature.
Throughout the year, Jewish families gather to celebrate Jewish holidays, and having children and instilling Jewish values is often seen as the most important way to ensure a thriving Jewish community into the future. While traditional Jewish family life has changed in response to modern values, for many Jews in Australia and around the world, family remains the touchstone of their connection to Jewish culture and identity.
This exhibition, which honours the centrality of family in Jewish life, has been mounted to coincide with the launch of the newly named Dinah & Henry Krongold Family Gallery. The Krongold family has been associated with the Jewish Museum of Australia over three generations. Dinah and the late Henry Krongold were present at the laying of the foundation stone of the Museum’s current premises in 1995, and their grandson, Adam, is currently on the Board of the Museum. This gallery has been named in recognition of the Krongold family’s generous support as donors to the Museum, and this exhibition pays tribute to their family tradition of community involvement and philanthropy – from generation to generation.
“The Blake fulfils a role beyond that of only being an art prize. What it has done best, over its long history, is to sponsor a conversation about what matters most in our culture. This is the big picture side of what we understand by the word spirituality. It is the public face of tolerance, hope and compassion”
Rod Pattenden, Chair of the Blake Society
The Jewish Museum of Australia is delighted to be part of the 61st Blake Prize, and the sole Victorian venue for the 2013 national tour. Since its inception in 1949, the Blake has provided a remarkable opportunity for contemporary engagement with religion and art, inspiring conversation about the meaning and value of these two elements within everyday life. The Museum has similarly long been synonymous with interpreting, exploring and presenting Jewish religion and spirituality, ritual and tradition, often through an artistic lens. A beautiful complement to the Museum’s permanent exhibitions, the Blake provides a unique and valuable opportunity to reflect on Jewish life in a distinctly Australian, comparative and contemporary context.
This exhibition of digital images by Australian-Jewish artist Bill Meyer uses the 54 parashot (weekly readings) of the Torah to navigate a personal and universal journey. Religious and spiritual, artistic and interpretative, metaphoric and literal, the installation documents the artist’s own exploration of the Hebrew Bible and its relevance and meaning today.
The images themselves mark contemporary situations and places. They move from the physical to the abstract, and derive mostly from Meyer’s own travels. The visual references for the works span some of the artist’s most personal and recent journeys – trips to Israel to reunite with family and friends, business trips, medical journeys – as well as the more common journey of the refugee or the journey back through history. The train, the car, the ship, the pair of legs – each of these modes of mobility find special significance in this new exhibition as they represent (at times, abstractly) not only the nature of the journey itself, but also the beauty in the banal.
As visitors to the space we are asked by Meyer to contemplate life’s trajectory, to use his beautiful and complex images as the starting point for our own questions and interrogations – from where have we come and to where are we headed.
EPIC! 100 years of film & the Bible explores the fascination that filmmakers from all over the world have had with the Bible. From Australia to Croatia, USA to Mexico, EPIC! showcases the unique and fascinating journey of the Hebrew Bible through film. Comprising mostly rare vintage movie posters, stretching as far back as 1921, the exhibition also features ephemera including movie stills, lobby cards, press books and costumes. This exhibition explores how filmmakers have been mining the Bible for drama, exoticism and eroticism, taking audacious and creative liberties to heighten the sex, theatricality and violence since the turn of last century.
On Reflection: 30 Years of Exhibitions at the Jewish Museum of Australia opens as part of the Museum’s 30th anniversary celebrations and is dedicated to the wonderful and varied exhibitions curated and displayed at the Jewish Museum of Australia, since its modest beginnings in the back room of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in 1982.
On Reflection profiles 30 exhibitions from the almost 100 major exhibitions produced at the Museum. Each is represented by an object featured in the original display and which comes from the Museum’s own permanent collection. These profiled exhibitions bring to light the themes and subjects that have captivated our curators, designers, artists and volunteer committees, and that have also so successfully captured the imaginations of our audiences.
Ranging across contemporary art, archaeology, social history, Jewish culture and ritual, photography, Judaica, and interactive experiences for children and families, these special exhibitions have reflected and responded to the community and have provided opportunities for visitors of all backgrounds to share in our culture; engaging with and examining what it means to be Jewish in an Australian and global context.
Showcasing the magnificent objects of our permanent collection – which itself has had a defining role in bringing these exhibitions and stories to life – On Reflection is as much about reflecting on the Museum’s proud history of exhibiting and collecting, as it is about reflecting on the ever-changing dynamic of our unique community.
Loti Smorgon Gallery:
Aleph Bet: the artistry and poetry of the Hebrew Alphabet
Works by Marc Lopez Bernal.
Aleph Bet: playing with the Hebrew alphabet
Works from the Jewish Museum of Australia Collection.
Aleph Bet is a not-to-be-missed exhibition in two parts for adults and children exploring the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet through art, spirituality, words and objects.
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 2 x 3 metres, forming an exciting and complex landscape of letters.
Spatial, sensual and dreamy, Bernal calls upon natural elements in his recreation of the Hebrew alphabet. This major exhibition will be the first showcase of Bernal’s works to be exhibited in Australia.
In the Gross Gallery is the family-friendly Aleph Bet: playing with the Hebrew alphabet which features 50 colourful, quirky and interesting objects from the Jewish Museum of Australia collection, that each relate to a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 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.
Aleph Bet playfully brings to life the wonderful world of language with two exhibitions and a suite of exciting and stimulating programs all linked directly to the Hebrew alphabet. These include art workshops, jewellery making and yoga for children; short courses and a series of meditation sessions in the upstairs gallery for adults. Look, listen and explore the Hebrew alphabet at the Jewish Museum of Australia with Aleph Bet.