by George J Elbaum
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) staged an exhibit, From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art, which presents work of 24 contemporary artists who grapple with memories that are not their own. “This diverse group of local and international artists consider many forms of inherited and often traumatic memories, from the personal and familiar to the collective. Through their works in a variety of media including sculpture, film, photography, mixed media and many more, the artists search, question, and reflect on the representation of truths related to ancestral and public narratives of historical moments such as the Holocaust, the struggle for civil rights in America, the Vietnam War and others, ultimately attempting to understand their own past.”
To expand the impact of this exhibit, The CJM is launching a program of student tours of From Generation to Generation and pairing these with talks by Holocaust survivors through partnering with the Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS). These talks offer the students a unique opportunity to connect art and history, to humanize historical events and cultivate empathy, and to strengthen links between past and present. To launch this program, The CJM arranged for 100+ students from Quarry Lane High School in Dublin, CA, to visit the exhibit and attend my presentation which was arranged by JFCS’s Program Coordinator, Nikki Bambauer. The CJM’s Janine Okmin, Associate Director of Education, and Cara Buchalter, Tour & Education Associate, organized this event, the first of its type for The CMJ, and Quarry Lane teachers Lance Miller, Ekta Shah and others accompanied their students.