Blood, Milk & Tears
February 23 - May 24, 2017
Opening Event | Wednesday, March 8, 7 - 9 PM
In a new site-specific installation for the FENTSTER window gallery, Muslim and Jewish women explore menstruation, breastfeeding and mourning through writing, art and traditional texts.
Last year, a group of Jewish and Muslim women artists met regularly to study texts from their respective traditions, sharing how their heritage informs their artistic output. This collective was convened by the grassroots Shema & Iqra': The Jewish-Muslim Text Project, which brings together Muslims and Jews using religious texts as a springboard for dialogue. Called Blood, Milk and Tears, the initial project explored each traditions’ response to menstruation, breastfeeding and mourning, considering connections between gender, creativity, religiosity and identity.
FENTSTER invited the Blood, Milk and Tears Collective to make new work reflecting on their personal experiences and the religious practices that often marginalize them as women. The process began with further text study and by sharing stories with the creation workshops facilitated by noted printmaker, painter, fabric and book artist Rochelle Rubinstein. The result is a dense assemblage in the window gallery of long paper scrolls interpreted in inventive ways by a diverse, inter-generational group of women drawing upon a range of media including painting, print-making, collage, drawing, textiles and original poetry written in Arabic, English and Hebrew. Many scrolls incorporate textual sources from the Quran, the Hebrew Bible, Jewish prayer as well as Sufi mysticism.
The project features collaborations between longtime neighbours and new friends, several mother-daughter duos as well as students and scholars. Whether practicing or secular, each woman's relationship to her cultural and religious heritage encourages thoughtful reflection on her place within that tradition and on the significance of our blood, milk, and tears.
Participating Artists | Asma Ali | Fredelle Brief | Siham Chowdhury | Caryn Joy Colman | Karen Gold | Maysa Haque | Alisha Kaplan | Sarah Katz | Sharon Katz | Sara Abdel-Latif | Hannah Mayne | Tiferet Nashman | Sumaira Naz | Nilofar Noor | Rula Kahil | Kanwal Rahim | Sharon Ross | Shlomit Segal | Manaal Syed | Soheila Zarrabi
Developed by Evelyn Tauben, Shari Golberg and Rochelle Rubinstein
Presented by FENTSTER together with Shema & Iqra’: The Jewish-Muslim Text Project
On International Women's Day, Wednesday, March 8, 7 to 9 PM, meet the women who created Blood, Milk and Tears. Vocalist Aviva Chernick and poet Sheniz Janmohamed share a new collaboration – two women exploring their relationship to their spiritual and creative practices through movement, sound and ritual.
Trailblazers & Troublemakers: Filmmakers Telling the Stories of Jewish & Muslim Women
Sunday, April 30 | 7 PM | Noor Cultural Centre | 123 Wynford Drive
Presented together with the Blood, Milk and Tears installation, Canadian filmmakers Zarqa Nawaz (journalist and creator of CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie) and Francine Zuckerman (writer, producer and director) share insights and excerpts from their ground-breaking documentaries, Me & The Mosque and Half the Kingdom. These films focus on the efforts of Muslim and Jewish women to reconcile deeply held faith commitments with their desires for equal access to communal and ritual spaces. Join these visionary women in conversation about the impact of their films and their ongoing relevance in the current political climate.
Tickets will be available starting March 5. For details, please visit FENTSTER website
ABOUT FENTSTER / SHEMA & IQRA'
Presenting site-specific installations of contemporary art connected to the Jewish experience, FENTSTER (Yiddish for "window") is an independent artist-run exhibition space located in the storefront window of the grassroots community Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism. FENTSTER exhibitions are on view 24/7.
The grassroots Shema & Iqra': The Jewish-Muslim Text Project brings together Muslims and Jews using religious texts as a springboard for dialogue about issues of mutual concern. In early 2016, Shema & Iqra' ran the “Blood, Milk and Tears” textual-study and arts collective for Jewish and Muslim women artists investigating links between gender, embodiment and identity. The FENTSTER installation is an outgrowth of that initial program.
Blood, Milk and Tears was developed by Evelyn Tauben (FENTSTER curator) and Shari Golberg (Founder of Shema & Iqra') together with Rochelle Rubinstein with support from Dr. Nevin Reda, Samira Kanji and Richard Chambers. Presented by FENTSTER and Shema & Iqra'. Featured in Myseum Intersections, an annual festival of exhibitions and events showcasing different perspectives on the city's natural, cultural, and historic diversity. Community Partners: Noor Cultural Centre, University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism and Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto
IMAGES: Blood, Milk and Tears installation at FENTSTER; Sheniz Janmohamed and Aviva Chernick
FENTSTER @ Makom, 402 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1S8