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April 17, 2016

In 1516, during Passover, the Ghetto of Venice is instituted.
In 1609 a beautiful Haggadah, the book read at Passover, is printed in Venice.
In 2016 eight international artists in residence at the Scuola reinvent the Haggadah for the Ghetto Quincentennial.

When Beit Venezia➤ suggested that we could contribute to the quintecennial of the Getto through an art project, we all were thrilled here at the Scuola di Grafica.

In fact, the idea of having a group of visual artists at work on a printed edition made real sense, given the prominent role of the Jewish community in the history of Venetian printing press. Here was a great chance to weave history, society and religion into one single art fabric. It was a unique opportunity that the Scuola, an international center for printmaking and book-arts, would never miss.

It has been a great experience to see how the group of the 8 ‘Haggadah Project’ artists has immersed in the Scuola community, working and living side by side with the other resident artists and students. Together, we have shared 3 intense weeks of vibrant and productive work.

The 8 artists in residence at the Scuola have created a series of etchings, using the original 1609 Haggadah as inspiration. A challenge of this project was how to create new work as a response to tradition. These etchings are now exhibited at the Jewish Museum, and form the artwork for a published Haggadah, available for Pesach 2017.

Head artist Jacqueline Nicholls (UK), who engages with traditional Jewish texts in her artwork, has been joined by Andi Arnovitz (USA/Israel), Josh Baum (UK), Yael Cohen (Israel/UK), Nathan Gotlib (Belgium), Sophie Herxheimer (UK), Kyra Matustik (Sweden), Hillel Smith (USA).

The art historian Professor Marc Michael Epstein, who has written extensively on the art of the haggadah, has participated as scholar in residence to this project.

The New Venice Haggadah is a project of Beit Venezia➤ – Home for Jewish Culture, directed by Shaul Bassi. Beit Venezia aims to retell the story of the Jews of Venice, inviting international artists, writers, musicians and scholars to reside to the city, make new work, and thus create an on-going international arts community.

For more information about each of the artists see their websites:

  • Jacqueline NICHOLLS – http://www.jacquelinenicholls.com
  • Andi ARNOVITZ – http://andiarnovitz.com/
  • Josh BAUM – http://www.contemporaryjudaica.co.uk/josh-baum/4573397166
  • Nathan GOTLIB – http://www.nathangotlib.com
  • Yael DAVID COHEN – http://www.yaeldc.co.uk
  • Sophie HERXHEIMER – http://www.sophieherxheimer.com/
  • Kyra Munk MATUSTIK – http://kyrastudio.agilityhoster.com/cv.htm
  • Hillel SMITH – http://hillelsmith.info