Last Chance to Explore Complexities of Skirball Exhibit: Motherhood Essence and the Feminine Divine

It is the last week to see the dynamic exhibit Motherhood Essence and the Feminine Divine at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum. The exhibit closes on Feb. 4.

“This theme was chosen because women and people assigned female at birth are forced to reframe the world to make space for their identity,” said Becky Mason, a curatorial assistant from Ish.

The exhibit is a collaboration of Israeli artists Roni Fixler, Stav Even Zahav, Maya Prat, and Dana Cohen and local artists, Avery Plummer, Sharareh Khosravani, Mary Barr Rhodes, and Leo Manis. They engaged in a re-art process, where each artist took an original piece of art and individually created a new work inspired by it.

“There are eight original works, and then, each artist was re-arted by four other artists,” said Abby Schwartz, the curatorial consultant at the Skirball Museum.

According to Schwartz, walking through the exhibit, one can start picking up on the styles of the individual artists in their interpretation of each other’s work, whether through particular colors or a visual style.

“You see the collage elements [of the exhibit] that it becomes a study, and it becomes sort of a treasure hunt as you view each piece,” said Abby Schwartz.

The show has brought a diverse and particularly young crowd to the Skirball Museum, particularly those under 40 and under 18, according to Schwartz. Something that is evident when you look at the physical replacement of the normal evaluation form.

It is called ‘We Are’ and is a creative data collection installation that was inspired by Social Fabric DNA, which takes the form of what one could call a tapestry or a living map of those who attended. The art piece/evaluation form features several questions that attendees can answer by choosing a string that represents their age group and then weaving their string into the piece to show the different experiences of visitors.

‘We Are’ evaluation form

“Our demographic skews older. But interestingly, through this show, we have seen a lot of young people,” said Schwartz

The exhibit ‘Motherhood Essence and the Feminine Divine,’ a key component of the Israel at 75 celebration, has been a highlight of the Cincinnati Jewish arts scene. Orchestrated by Ish, a prominent Jewish arts organization in Cincinnati, the event featured the acclaimed works of artists Roni Fixler and Dana Cohen from Netanya, Israel. This exhibit was brought to Cincinnati to demonstrate art’s unifying and transformative power. Roni Fixler and Dana Cohen, as Ish’s artists in residence, have contributed significantly to this impactful showcase.

This year’s celebration, however, is marked by the shadow of recent events. The October 7th attacks, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, causing over 1200 deaths and taking more than 200 hostages, and the ensuing Israel-Hamas War, have added a layer of complexity to the otherwise festive occasion.

Skirball has also installed a piece by Marlene Siff titled Peace/War. The piece from 1996 was created after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the string of terrorist attacks that followed.

Peace/War by Marlene Siff (Courtesy Skirball Museum)

The piece was once part of the B’nai B’rith collection that the Skirball absorbed. The work is a reflection of the Arab Israeli peace process of the 1990s. The names on the piece are the names and victims of bombings in the 1990s.

The work features large circles that show the population centers in Israel. On the plaque next to the piece in the Skirball, a quote from Ori Soltes who was the former director and curator of the B’nai B’rith collection, said, “I was struck by the position of circles over Israeli cities experiencing an ongoing process of conflict and resolution.”

As the exhibit ‘Motherhood Essence and the Feminine Divine’ enters its final week at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum, visitors have a last opportunity to experience this unique artistic collaboration. The exhibit, showcasing a blend of local and Israeli talent, offers a thoughtful exploration of identity and creativity. Be sure to catch this engaging display before it closes.

This article is sponsored content from the Skirball Museum as part of Cincy Jewfolk’s Partnership program. For more information, check out our media kit.