Contact email@example.com From North America: (510) 550 1173 In Israel: (077) 662 1230
Lilianne Milgrom, France/Australia
Parshat Ki Tavo
What struck me about the parsha Ki Tavo was the fundamental necessity for balance in our lives and in our interconnected universe. The parsha talks about the ritual of bikurim, receiving of the first fruits, the bounty of the Lord, and the reciprocal commandment to give back from the first fruit. It was this idea of giving and receiving (which is also a yoga ‘mudra’ in which one hand is open for receiving and the other held up in preparation for giving) which spoke to me deeply. In order to live in harmony with our fellow man (and woman) and with our God, there needs to be an inherent balance. The parsha also dwells on warnings and curses while reminding the Jewish people of their blessings — yet another type of duality which needs to be finely tuned.
The hands in the illustration are my hands and the fruit is a pomegranate (my family name Milgrom means pomegranate in Polish). I wanted the image to convey an ambiguity as to whether the hands were in the act of receiving or in the act of giving. The background was designed to give a sense of the Dawn of Time and the wonder of nature which can produce a marvel such as the pomegranate.
In an attempt to find a medium which would not buckle the klaf (parchment) I chose to use colored pencil, which I must admit I despaired of my choice half way through. It is a terribly exacting and time consuming medium. However, the natural texture of the klaf ended up being very suitable for illustrating skin itself. I used fixative and other protective sprays which has given the klaf a slightly textural feel.
In my research on Ki Tavo, I was particularly moved by the interpretation found in this PDF: canfeinesharim.org/uploads/17572Ki_Tavo_Printable.pdf
Lilianne Milgrom is an artist and writer. She is Paris-born, and divides her time between Australia, Israel, the United States and France. Her diverse background has influenced her work, which is distinguished by an interest in the universal human attributes and weaknesses which connect us all. She exhibits internationally and her works can be found in private and institutional collections around the world.
Reflections on Being a Jewish Woman Artist
As far back as I remember, the first question posed to me upon meeting new people has been "where do you come from?" My physical features have led strangers to identify me as Syrian, Persian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Italian, Israeli, Greek, and Hispanic. In actual fact, I was born in Paris to a Czech mother and a Polish father, both Holocaust survivors. I grew up in Australia, and divide my time between Israel and the United States. I have a slight accent in all the languages I speak. So what am I and where do I come from? Am I French, Australian, Israeli or even American? The answer is simple: I am Jewish.
Being Jewish encompasses all the above variations and even makes sense of the seemingly conflicting and confusing data. When I finally respond to the question "where are you from?" with the answer "I am Jewish", people nod knowingly as if it is universally understood to mean a unique race of people that transcends nationality and geography and owes its cohesion to a loosely shared faith in One God. It places me squarely as a Member of the Tribe, one of the Chosen People.
That is my external Jewish identity. My personal identity as a Jewish woman is a complex and elusive combination of Shabbath candlelighting, a deep commitment to pass on my Jewish heritage, a sense of duty to honor and pay homage to my parents and their Holocaust experience, the tears that well up in my eyes whenever I hear the Hatiqva, the joy of making my children’s favorite foods for the chagim, and the smile that comes to my lips when I hear Yiddish.
My childhood home was quite observant. I belonged to Bnei Akiva during my youth, but I never really received a formal Jewish education. My years in Israel transformed me into a secular/traditional Jew, attending synagogue only on chagim, and having little connection with Torah in my daily life. However certain principles of Judaism are at the core of how I strive to act towards my fellow human beings and towards all living creatures. I identify with a description of Spinoza as "a Jew who is not necessarily an adherent of a doctrinal religion but who nevertheless is indissolubly fused to that community’s heritage". (A. A. Aciman)
I never set out to make art under the title of ‘Jewish Woman Artist’. I am inspired by universal human concerns. Nonetheless, occasional biblical references, long-forgotten stories from the ‘Old Country’, and Hebrew words and letters hover on the periphery of my artistic vision, insinuating themselves every now and then into my work, reminding me that I am indeed a Jewish Woman Artist.