“Pride is the Mood” seeks to encapsulate and celebrate queer Jewish experiences and art.
This year’s edition features work from Big Mike, Jay Smith, Mx. Je’ Jae Cleopatra, Elijah Silver, and Riv Shapiro.
Enjoy the view!
Jay Smith (they/them) (@mmmjaysmith) is an illustrator based in Western Massachusetts. They have no formal arts education and credit their grandmother Sylvia with teaching them to paint at an early age. Their work explores themes of Jewish identity, ancestry, queerness, and longing. In 2015, Jay was the recipient of the Arts and Healing Network Award for Arts and Social Change. Their work was also displayed in 2016 in partnership with the Amplifier Foundation and the Women’s March on Washington at the Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle. They currently reside in Florence, MA with their partner, Clare, and two fur babies Gene and Charlie.
I have been an artist all my life and working with clay since I was nine years old. Clay links us back to the oldest elements of creation and has been a refuge for me through the fear and uncertainty of the last few years. Peruse more of my pieces here.
Every year I eagerly await the first jasmine blossoms, who playfully urge me to remember pleasure. No matter how difficult the world may feel, if one can stop and smell a jasmine blossom, there is an opportunity to feel the goodness of creation. This image shows jasmine blossoms surrounded by the shehecheyanu prayer, said on special occasions to give thanks for all that had to happen for us to reach this moment.
Phenology “wheels” are interactive lunar calendars that aid our awareness of seasonal shifts through recording observations like sunrise and sunset time, temperature and weather, and plant and animal behaviour. I created a phenology wheel for each Hebrew month of 5781, often alongside illustrations of natural phenomena and interspecies kin. This practice helped me to feel myself inside of an ecosystem; to locate my belonging. Paying attention to our place in the web of life is an act of resistance, solidarity, and radical wholeness. Learn more about them here.
This photo series is part of a larger project created through the Atiq Makers Kollel in Spring 5781, culminating in the release of a short dance film. As a genderqueer person who did not grow up with access to the ritual of laying tefillin, these foundational questions guide my exploration: What is the dance between being held and being constricted? How do we find access to rituals of holding that have been held rigidly, that we may have been kept out of. What freedom can we claim within them? Find more information on the series and the film trailer here.
Header image and mood board design by Orly Zebak. Artwork by “Pride is the Mood” contributors.
Brought to you by the Niv team.