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.