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Every Protection: Exploring Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Jewish Pale of Settlement
September 27, 2011 | Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College
Debra Olin: Images and Nathaniel Deutsch: Text
Opening reception: Tuesday, September 27, 4-7pm
Until 1917, most Jews of the Russian Empire were restricted to a region called the Pale of Settlement, where they created their own distinctive folk culture. In 1914 the writer, socialist revolutionary, and ethnographer, Sh. An-sky, produced a massive Yiddish ethnographic questionnaire to document this culture, including many questions concerning Jewish customs and beliefs connected to pregnancy and childbirth. In The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement (Harvard University Press), UCSC professor Nathaniel Deutsch has translated An-sky’s questionnaire into English for the first time, placing it within a rich historical context. Collaborating with Deutsch and inspired by her deep interest in Jewish women’s folk traditions, Debra Olin has created illuminating artworks that represent and explore the dangerous, magical, and, above all, powerful experience of pregnancy and childbirth in the Pale of Settlement.
Debra Olin is a printmaker, living and working in Somerville, Massachusetts. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1980. Olin has shown in exhibitions across the U.S., South Africa and Cuba. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Boston Public Library; Temple Israel, Brookline, Mass.; YIVO Institute, NYC; The DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Mass.; and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. In 2004 Debra was awarded the Rappaport Prize, the largest public annual award to an individual artist in New England. For more information, visit the artist’s website: http://debraolin.com/.
Gallery hours: 11am – 4pm, Tuesday – Sunday. For more information call: (831) 459-2953. Gallery is fully accessible.