The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) commissioned this piece to honor its founders at its 35th year anniversary gala event. After doing some research in the Society’s archives, I decided to use a wagon with papers streaming out of it. So many of the photographs in the archives feature wagons, being used by Jews who moved to this area to conduct commerce, farm, and move their belongings around. I appreciate that it’s both a symbol of early midwest settlement and is not often joined with Hebrew text or images of Jews.
The text is from the second aliyah of Ha’azinu, in Dvarim (Deuteronomy): and means “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of ages past; Ask your father, he will inform you, Your elders, they will tell you.”
I have hand-cut a total of four nearly-identical copies of this papercut, each with a slightly different detail within the wagon, representing something specific about the founder to whom it belongs.