“Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory” interweaves Christian, Jewish, and Muslim poetry and spiritual texts from the medieval period of the Convivencia in Spain and from contemporary Middle Eastern poets, particularly Palestinian, Syrian and Israeli, in the context of my Unweavings fiber art works. Through research into the medieval period and into the wealth of contemporary Middle Eastern poetry, I found the themes that constitute the project – the poetry of spiritual love, often couched in the language of secular love, the poetry of exile, poetry of nostalgia for Andalusia, poetry referencing Old and New Testament texts, and the Qu’ran, and poetry speaking of mistrust of enemies, yearning for reconciliation.
An audio component is integral to the project, consisting of readings in English, Arabic, and Hebrew of portions of the texts contained in the Unweavings. Arabic and Hebrew are then interwoven in a specially-arranged soundscape by contemporary composer Daniel Wohl.
Music has been a central inspiration in my life and work. And nowhere more so than for The Shabbat Project. The project has been particularly inspired by the beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat service welcoming the Sabbath at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (NYC), led by Cantor Daniel Singer. The service consists of ancient prayers, psalms, niggunim and piyyutim. The pieces in the project interpret and embed the Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning prayers that have particular resonance for me through the music that carries them.
A soundscape is integral to the project and consists of music for the Kabbalat Shabbat service