Audio tour: Czech Routes

Discover Ben Uri’s new exhibition with curator Nicola Baird

The Restaurant by Frederick Feigl

The Restaurant by Frederick Feigl

Czech Routes features the work of 21 painters, printmakers and sculptors, many of whom fled to Britain as racial and political refugees from National Socialism in the 1930s. These include sculptor Anita Mandl and painter-printmaker Käthe Strenitz, just two of the 669 Kindertransportees rescued by British humanitarian Nicholas Winton. Also represented are works by subsequent generations of Czechoslovakian artists, including Irena Sedlecká, who fled her country’s totalitarian Communist regime in the 60s, as well as those who, between the 1970s and 1990s, have made the positive decision to immigrate to Britain to study and develop professionally. The exhibition showcases work drawn primarily from the Ben Uri Collection alongside external loans from important private collections.

By Judi Herman

Czech Routes runs daily until 21 April and then on Mondays only until 20 May or by appointment. Ben Uri Gallery, NW8 0RH. 020 7604 3991.

Audio tour: Jews, Money, Myth

Join exhibition curator Joanne Rosenthal in an audio exploration of the Jewish Museum London’s latest display

Jews, Money, Myth is the new exhibition at the Jewish Museum London exploring the ideas and stereotypes that link Jews to money. At a time when antisemitism is on the rise in the UK and beyond, it is especially timely, examining and busting as it does so many of the myths that reinforce prejudice. Join curator Joanne Rosenthal as she takes Judi Herman on a tour of some of the highlights of the exhibition and explains the vision behind it.

Jews, Money, Myth runs until 7 July. Jewish Museum, NW1 7NB. 020 7284 7384.

Read more about the exhibition in the Apr 2019 issue of JR.

Image details:

1. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1629. Oil on panel. © Private Collection, Photography courtesy of the National Gallery, London, 2016.

2. Begging letter from blind man (from the Cairo Genizah) Egypt, c. 1090 © Cambridge University Library.

3 & 4. The Blind Merchant, 2019 © Roee Rosen.

5. Jewish figurines Poland, 2018 © Jewish Museum London.

In conversation: Hanna Scolnicov

Hanna Scolnicov discusses Shakespeare and Chagall, two creative giants united at the Ben Uri Gallery

In 1975 when Chagall was 88, he illustrated an edition of Shakespeare’s magical play The Tempest, perhaps feeling an affinity with Prospero the magician and prince, who gives up his ‘rough magic’ at the play’s end. The first UK exhibition of this rare and limited portfolio is currently on view at the Ben Uri gallery. Curator Hanna Scolnicov, Professor emerita of Tel Aviv University (right in above photo), talks to JR’s arts editor Judi Herman about how Chagall came to illustrate the edition and takes listeners on an audio tour of the exhibition, stopping at her favourite images. (Courtesy of Ben Uri)

A Farewell to Art: Chagall, Shakespeare and Prospero runs until Sunday 11 February. Ben Uri Gallery, NW8 0RH. 020 7604 3991.

In conversation: Hadar Galron

Shalom Edinburgh! Hadar Galron speaks to us about the International Shalom Festival


Writer/performer Hadar Galron is the inspirational artistic director of the three-day-long International Shalom Festival taking place at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this month. Its mission is to "build cultural bridges and celebrate coexistence and peace" by bringing artists from both the Israeli and Palestinian communities to share a dialogue with visitors to the festival. Here she tells Judi Herman how she plans to combat the protests of anti-Israel protestors like BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) by shedding some real light in Edinburgh.

The International Shalom Festival runs Tuesday 8 – Thursday 10 August. Times vary. Donations on the door. Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh, EH7 4BS.

In conversation: Sira Soetendorp

Dutch Artist Sira Soetendorp discusses the family portraits in her exhibition Vanished Families

Following a visit to Auschwitz in 2012, Sira Soetendorp felt a deep need to preserve the memory of all the lost family members. The Dutch artist used carved outlines drawn in oil paint to fashion portraits based on family photographs, which make up her exhibition Vanished Families. Here she discusses the exhibit with JR’s Arts Editor Judi Herman, plus you will hear Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Sira’s husband and Emeritus Rabbi of the Hague, who is an award-winning human rights advocate.

Vanished Families runs until Monday 27 February at Etz Chayim Gallery, Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, HA6 3AA. 019 2382 2592. Viewing by appointment:

Audio tour: Shaping Ceramics

Listen to a guided audio tour of the Jewish Museum’s exhibition Shaping Ceramics with artist Janet Haig

Janet Haig is one of the ceramicists whose pieces, as well as a film showing how she works, are featured in Shaping Ceramics at the Jewish Museum London. The exhibition explores the work of pioneering ceramicists, tracing their influence on subsequent generations of ceramic artists whose Jewish heritage has shaped their work. Polish-born artist Haig joins JR's arts editor Judi Herman here for a very personal tour of the exhibition, discussing the experiences that have moulded her work: from the hardships of the war years in a Siberian prison camp with her mother, to her formative childhood in Australia (where she studied painting) after they discovered that their closest family had perished in the Holocaust, to her arrival in the UK in 1962 and work teaching in a boys’ school.

Haig reveals that her first inspiration might go back as far as those harsh days in Siberia: “My mother was able to take one object with her [to Siberia] and she suddenly saw this little pot (I still have it in my possession), which she grabbed hold of because, as I was a baby, she thought it would be useful to warm things up. It’s enamel, blue on the outside, white on the inside and maybe that has had some kind of inspiration on my pots.”

Shaping Ceramics: From Lucie Rie to Edmund de Waal runs until Sunday 26 February, at Jewish Museum, NW1 7NB. 020 7284 7384.

Watch ceramic artist Janet Haig demonstrate the ancient pottery-making technique of hand building on Monday 23 January, 11.30am-12.30pm, £7.50, £6.50 concs, at Jewish Museum, NW1 7NB. 020 7284 7384. 

Read more about key artists in the exhibition in the January 2017 issue of Jewish Renaissance.

In conversation: Julia Pascal

Julia Pascal talks about Crossing Jerusalem and her reasons for writing and reviving it

© Mia Hawk

© Mia Hawk

Hear writer/director Julia Pascal speaking to JR's arts editor Judi Herman about her play and her reasons for writing it – and for reviving it now. (NB: Thanks to the tube strike this interview was recorded via Skype and is not of the finest quality, but hopefully rewards the patient and persistent listener!)

Crossing Jerusalem runs until Saturday 29 August. 7.45pm & 3.15pm. £12.50-£18. Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, N4 3JP; 020 7870 6876.

Read Judi Herman's review on the JR blog