All the projects on this blog so far have been well thought out and try to tie up so many influences that it seems like cheating to do this one. Ever since I’ve started working at Kaufman’s Deli and Bakery, I’ve wanted to print on butcher paper, handing out artwork wrapped around meat and fish. It is just a perfect fit for the method I have for putting my work out into the world. So simple and elegant, it’s taken me years to find an image that would match. I finally settled on portraying The Exodus, the biblical story of Moses leading the Jews out of enslavement in Egypt and into the Promised Land.
The events leading up to Passover are pretty gruesome. Plagues involving infestation, famine, rivers of blood, and a wrathful God who kills children to make a point. This year, Passover closely coincides with Easter, the Spring celebration of my upbringing, which also involves a lot of gruesome imagery. 40 days of fasting and temptation in the desert followed by an arrest, a torturous walk to crucifixion, and after 3 days, if you dared not believe in miracles, the challenge to poke your finger into the still existing wounds. All this graphic suffering just to get to the salvation, the delivery, the escape from enslavement, the survival of a cold and hungry season.
If you have come into the deli on Friday, April 3rd, you might have gotten this wrapped around your sandwich, lox, or pastrami (it water based ink, non-toxic, and on the non- food service side). Not everyone is familiar with the biblical story but we all have at least a seed of desire to lead or be lead to a Promised Land, whether it’s to escape the unsatisfying job we have or to overcome societal inequality. Here’s to hoping your struggles end soon.
“Open your eyes and look within, Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” Bob Marley