Parshat Ha'azinu by Charlotte Hart

Fine art Archival Print on 256 gsm Paper, museum quality.
Limited Edition of 250 (נר) each. Size - 70X50 cm
Price includes international shipping

Parshat Ha’azinu represents the last moments of Moses’ life. My drawing depicts a water stone, symbolizing Moses’ refusal to obey, in front of all the Israelites, a direct, holy command. A stone with water in it holds life. In one Midrash, Moses was still vigorous and died by a Kiss. My Midrash envisions holy spoken words becoming visual to Moses. He saw the land and people of Israel through all time in an instant. It was that immediate depth of knowledge and understanding that ended his life.
The medium I used to create the Ha’azinu drawing for Women of the Book is pen and ink, the traditional medium of Torah scrolls. A relative found out that I was going to create a visual Midrash on parchment for the Woman of the Book project, and ordered kosher scribal inks, an inkwell and feather pens for me. I practiced with those inks and quills for a long while but was unable to move the lines as fast as my thoughts. Finally, I realized that those wonderful tools would only do for one part of the drawing: the black dot representing the navel of the pregnant earth, the even haShetiya, the well of souls of the foundation stone.
The visual art that I have done, inspired by the Torah portions, is intimately interwoven with my writing, but each are independent as well. The Midrash/poem for the Ha’azinu drawing, “The Water Stone,” is accompanied online by five additional stanzas. Each stanza relates to a section of the whole drawing. I have recorded and presented the complete text on my website. charlotte-hart.com


The Water Stone, a Midrash on Deuteronomy 32:1

From a vibration came music of the limitless un-delved.
A quivering watery shudder opened all his senses.
Faint frequencies stirred a telling trope from far and he heard.
There. The land he would not enter, not only the dry mountain vista;
but that land unfettered by time, careening through space,
the people entering, burdened heavy with threat, laws and promise.
The vision swept past his life to the temple and scribes, the lowly and great,
past nascent trinity then logical ideas, ages of ignorance, silk road pilgrims,
classical wanderers, faiths of sword, sickle, apathy and hate, stone upon stone.
In the land, the trees were severed, trunk from root, olive to date.
Seeds scattered on the wind, took root and were loathed in places they loved. With no standing, they drifted. Where they took root and flourished, they finished in smoke.
Their pregnant land waited.
He saw the survivors return, they planted forests in memory of, in honor of.
The people were running to become, embracing science, turning to defense,
medical advance, technological brilliance, musical genius, mystical chess.
The trees bloomed and fruited.
Milk and honey, land for peace, no peace, all given in stillness.
The land undulated in heat and unfolded what would be.
And he knew, as he stood by a water stone the instant before his death.

Essay:

I have spent the past thirty-one years interpreting each weekly Torah portion into a piece of art and accompanying poem. It has been an almost completely private pursuit until this show. There are over 700 pieces and I am not finished. I continue to work on this ongoing project, and hope to have a piece that corresponds to every aliyah. [translation needed for this?]

My creativity as an artist has been influenced by the deep intellectual and spiritual journey I embarked on when I began studying Torah every Saturday morning. This ritual of study motivated me to further my contemplation of each Torah portion visually and in prose. It was the pursuit of my history, identity and understanding of the world that led my voice as an artist to this project. I found that drawing or painting what I had learned, and my thoughts about it, brought me deeper into myself as a creative person, and as a Jew. This body of work is my conversation with Judaism.

Teaching over a thousand children at two Solomon Schechter Day Schools and a synagogue school, B’nai Torah, about historical Jewish biblical illumination and ways to create their own visual Midrashim was very gratifying. Six of my neon instillation pieces, featuring Torah subjects and Hebrew words, were commissioned by one of the schools. I was honored to make three large stained glass windows for Bat Yam Synagogue of East Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and an Aron Kodesh for Or Chadash synagogue in Vienna, Austria.

Through my creative work I have been able to preserve experiences that I treasure. In my art and poetry, I have had the enjoyment of experimentation. The Torah portions have afforded me continual inspiration. As the mother of three children, personal freedom was limited; but in my art I could adventure playfully and unrestricted. After school, the children would look at the developing painting on my drawing board and ask about the portion. My children were and are interested in my work and my husband is encouraging.

This intimacy of my visual art and words suggests that the marriage of both is an aspect of my Jewish spirit. The added dimension of sound recording my poems to be heard with the art is an expression of my love of life and desire to celebrate it in many ways.

Charlotte Hart’s art exhibitions include: the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Studio im Hochhaus Die Kunst- und Literaturwerkstatt, Berlin, Levure Littéraire, Paris; and, work in the permanent collection of Art Institute of Chicago.
Charlotte’s poetry books are: The Pegasus Ring and Organic Spirits. She has published in many journals.


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Category: Print

Type: Women of the Book



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