The artist duo behind the internationally successful Warsaw-based Judaica company MI POLIN create a new site-specific art installation for the FENTSTER window gallery in downtown Toronto. This exhibition extends Helena Czernek and Aleksander Prugar’s deep interest in the Jewish ritual object, the mezuzah, which is traditionally affixed to the doorways of Jewish homes. Creating a window in the shape of a large-scale mezuzah within the gallery’s front window /“okno” in Polish, the artists offer an unexpected view to a place that Jews called home for generations. Visitors will be able to peek into the window space get a vantage point of contemporary Poland in living colour and great beauty, despite the deep scars of the past. The exhibition pushes past stereotypical images locked into the Jewish imagination of a country cast in black and white with mud-packed lanes filled with peddlers and fiddlers on rooftops to a modern place that a flourishing Jewish community calls home today.
MI POLIN (Hebrew for “From Poland”) is the first Judaica company in Poland since the Second World War. MI POLIN is run by Helena Czernek, an accomplished artist, and Aleksander Prugar, an award-winning photojournalist. Their work is featured in prominent museum collections including the Jewish Museum (New York). With funding from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, MI POLIN will be developing programs in public schools related to their signature project, Mezuzah From This Home. They speak regularly in Poland and abroad about their art and about Jewish life in Poland today.
While in Toronto for Holocaust Education Week, Czernek and Prugar will speak at the Legacy Symposium, FENTSTER, the Appel Salon, the Miles Nadal JCC and Limmud. They will lead arts workshops for school groups and an all-ages workshop open to the public at the Danforth Jewish Circle. For details, please visit: holocaustcentre.com/mi-polin.
Co-presented by the Miles Nadal JCC, FENTSTER and the Neuberger. Made possible by the Kultura Collective of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.