The Heritage

  For my exhibition in New York I selected paintings made on paper, which I framed when I reached New York and presented at the gallery of the Nowy Dziennik, a publication by the Polish diaspora. It

was my first trip to the United States, following which I came up with an idea of what I intended to become the Polish-Jewish and Judaism-Christian dialogue. That day, I painted a series of images

which were to become the first part of such a conversation. I wished to show the Jews from New York that we, the Poles living in Poland, are keen to start a dialogue. At that time, I felt I was a

Polish Jewish woman representing the Polish voice in that conversation.

  The Heritage cycle was first exhibited in the National Museum in Wrocław, and then in the Polish Consulate in New York. The titles in the cycle were, among others: Wynurza się i świeci (Emerges and

Shines), Gdzie jest twój sztetel Rebe? (Where Is Your Shtetl, Rebe?), Popołudniowa herbata w Europie (Afternoon Tea in Europe), Popołudnie w Europie (An Afternoon in Europe), Wrażliwość na znaki (Sensing the Signs), Moduł (Module), Wodnik zanurzony w znakach (Aquarius Submerged In Signs), Trwam w bezsilności (I Persevere

In Helplessness), Ściana płaczu (The Wailing Wall), Układanka z myślą o Ścianie Płaczu (The Puzzle About the Wailing Wall), Kilka sposobów na nadzieję (Some Ways To Hope), Nie zwlekajmy zasiadajmy (Let Us Not Wait, Let Us Sit at the Table). They are a testimony of my reflections and artistic inquiries. The exhibition was part of the project The Jewish Contribution to the Polish Heritage at the Ossolineum Library in Wrocław. The movie directed by Elżbieta Sitek and presented at the Ossolineum Library was then showcased alongside the exhibition at the Polish Consulate in New York. In a text from the exhibition catalogue, Małgorzata Barańska wrote: „Mira paints solitude and community, past and present”. I do agree with that, but I need to add that solitude in gaining an

in-depth understanding of the Jewish tradition, solitude in its daily practice in my life in Poland, does not generate sadness. I see the point in sharing my knowledge about the richness of the Jewish tradition whenever I come across openness and curiosity in others. The time when the tradition itself was intensely alive, present and guiding people’s daily life has passed, but there persists a memory about a special place in the world and the deep roots of Jewish traditions. The darkness of my

reflections from that period manifested in the paintings included in The Heritage series.

  The next cycle, titled The Heritage – The Joy of Torah has been more radiant. In the exhibition catalogue (2000), I published a self-portrait with a small Torah I hold with the joy one feels holding a little baby. These paintings have been an artistic recording of impressions generated by meeting and

joint celebration with the Yerushalmi Bavli Jewish community of New York and Jerusalem. It is a reformed Jewish community, and during the celebrations all participants could hold the Torah in their

hands and dance with it - something which, in more orthodox communities, can only be done by men.

  The Heritage – The Joy of Torah exhibition was presented on the oldest historic island in Wrocław, called Ostrów Tumski, at the behest of the Wroclaw Archdiocese Museum. The exhibition launch

was combined with an open meeting with Michael Shudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland. Quite possibly, the One Hundred Questions to the Rabbi discussion was the main reason the exhibition proved

so popular. My paintings, however, are not intended to teach about the Jewish tradition. They are an invitation to dialogue and an expression of my willingness to share my own discoveries on the path of studying the tradition. It is my inspiration and the source of emotions that saturate my art.

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