These paintings are based on the surviving collection of letters written by my maternal grandparents between 1898-1902. These words were penned while my grandfather was in the Russian army and would write to my grandmother in her shtetl in Belarus.
These letters also cover the period when my grandfather Moishe Klyuch (later to be called Moishe Chaim Silverman) and my great uncle Moishe Maron, traveled to New York and then Montreal, and corresponded back to their families. These writings gave me an autobiographical glimpse into the thoughts of 18 to 20-year-old Jewish Russians in the 20th century. They are in love, in the army, and in anguish as they struggled in a foreign country.
In these few years, my grandparents lived an eternity. They embody the history and culture of Jews who immigrated to Montreal. I contemplated about how the promise of freedom is so worth the effort and has thus ensured the preservation and continuation of future generations of Jews. My grandparents are but one example. This universal theme applies to any immigrant, at anytime. I am in awe and hold respect for all who courageously leave their homeland in search of a new and free life.
Header image artwork Adieu my beloved by Susan Shulman.
As a painter and visual artist, Susan Shulman has been prolific in creating bodies of work in both traditional and non-traditional art forms. Over the last several years she’s been exploring the transformative process of transferring pigments to pixels and the juxtaposing of these elements into video and animation. Currently, Shulman is working on a multi-dimensional project inspired by music, and her unique “Blues Bunny” character.
Her artistic journey to this date includes twelve solo shows and participation in numerous global group exhibitions. Her art is presently archived in the permanent collections of the MOMA in New York, Wales, and the National Library of Melbourne. She is currently back studying film animation at Concordia University to further her love of animation, and her animated film related to this series can be seen online at the London Film Festival here.
To see more of Shulman’s work you can visit her website.