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A Jewish Childhood – Jour 6 Jeu de Paume-Lorna Simpson and Ahlam Shibli. Part 1
Thursday, 27 June 2013 08:41

Ah we begin the sixth day, a Sunday, a special day, one that can hold such promise if only one remembered when to bring an umbrella in the pocket. It is Paris and it is June. I don’t remember so much rain last year at this time but then the past becomes but a dream and all weather is comfortable.

So on to the 72 Bus to Jeu de Paume, opposite side from Orangerie with all of the water lilies we all know, painted by Monet. And in between, there are the Tuileries. And way on the other side of the Tuileries is the Louvre.

Jeu de Paume has turned out to be on my list of favorite museums in Paris. Before coming to this museum I had not heard of either photographer. I see a large photograph entitled, “SHE SAW HIM DISAPPEAR BY THE RIVER. THEY ASKED HER TO TELL WHAT HAPPENED, ONLY TO DISCOUNT HER MEMORY.”

This is Simpson’s first large scale exhibition in Europe. Her work is show and tell, videos mixed with still photographs. She challenges the “truth” of photos, vintage and newly made photos, her work is compelling and exciting. For me it rings in truth about identity and gender, genres and history, race and class, fact and fiction, meaning and memory. As a woman coming of age in the vanguard of the women’s movement in the United States, nothing seems to have changed in terms of women’s work, that is the work of making art that shows and tells, over and over again.

I am unable to put into words all the feelings that were evoked as I sat and watch and heard videos, stark, moving slowly and at the end, as I get up and walk out into another room I am filled with such emotion, sadness, rage, the symbol hidden in the moves of a chess game shown, the same person playing against, what do we call it, her self. Click here: Lorna Simpson | Jeu de Paume

My haiku for her work is:

                                               Settle in girl.

                                                Don’t forget, your mama’s here.

                                                Make your best moves.

 I have three or four pieces I am working on as stand alone poems inspired by Simpson’s work. I could go on for pages but feel I must give some time and honor to Ahlam Shibli.

Return tomorrow for impressions about Ahlam Shibli and thank you for reading my Jewish Childhood Blog.