Interview: Ednah Schwartz
Luca Curci talks with Ednah Schwartz during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
“I was born in New York City in 1945. In 1957 I moved to Israel with my parents and brother. In 1970 I married and went to live in Kibbutz Kfar Blum. I graduated from the WIZO France High School for the arts in Tel Aviv Israel. I then moved back to NYC where I got my BFA from Parsons School of Design. I also studied and received my certificate in Art Therapy from the New School for Social Research in NYC. I hold an additional degree and license as a Certified Senior Teacher in Remedial and Special Education. I have certificates in the “Lam System” and “Therapeutic Puppet Theater”. I attended extra mural courses, workshops and individual instruction with artists in the US and Israel. I worked as an Art and Special Education teacher from second grade elementary thru 11th-grade high school. Additionally, I taught illiterate Senior Citizen Immigrants”.
“Art, for me is the way of life. Art is always with me, all around me, and it is rooted deep inside my body, soul, and mind. In my art there is a theme of inherent trauma that resurfaces throughout many of my pieces. For example, “A Jewish Ghetto Child,” is an ink drawing I made, which embodies the plight of those who have suffered during the Holocaust as well as being a testament to courage, strength, and a will to survive. Additionally, my mother grew up in Austria and my father in Berlin, they were both adolescents when the Nazis rose to power. Eventually, my parents managed to escape, but as I was growing up the Holocaust remained a dark and difficult topic of which they did not speak and consequently it haunted me for many years”.
Luca Curci -What is art for you?
Ednah Schwartz – As I wrote in my artist statement “Art for me, is a way of life. Art is always with me, all around me, and it is rooted deep inside my body, soul, and mind.” Furthermore, painting is a conversation with myself, with you the viewer and with the universe.
LC – What are you currently working on?
ES – I work on various projects simultaneously. I rarely finish a painting in one session. I work and rework the painting. I hang it on the wall where I can look at and study what I have done. Then I will return to add or change an area of the painting. This process can take weeks, months and in a few cases years! I am currently working on a set of drawings about my “Journey” with Rebbecah, my granddaughter and a number of paintings connected to war and its effect on both sides of the conflict.
LC- Where do you find your inspiration?
ES – My inspiration comes from everyday living: people, objects, plants, animals, the weather; from the sounds I hear such as the song of water filling a glass, the rain, people uttering syllables, the wind. I am fortunate to be able to see, hear, touch and smell and to be exposed to the multitude of nuances in each area.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
ES – Both my parents were Holocaust survivors, and this subject matter with its inherent trauma, still resurfaces in my work. Likewise, the region where I reside has been plagued with terror attacks, bombings, wars and military operations which I have witnessed. This reality of wars and politics also dominates some of my pieces. Alternately, northern Israel is blessed with luxuriantly lush landscapes, which I find riveting and I will never grow tired of painting these captivating scenes. Furthermore, I simply enjoy painting or drawing a thought, a feeling, an idea.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
ES – Let me expand here on what I wrote above under the heading “Themes Of My Artwork”. There are artworks with a specific intent on my part, however, there are paintings where I give free rein to my feelings. Overall, my work is a combination of visceral reactions, emotional flow, and an insightful thought process. My life experiences as well as my experience as an artist have taught me that art is a state of being and a robust means of communication. Therefore, I embody art and I believe that meaningful art will transcend its physical state and will impact each viewer to leave a lasting impression. Moreover, I write, poetry, and stories and lately I have composed a number of musical compositions.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
ES – I chose to exhibit with Itsliquid because they are an international contemporary platform. Itsliquid are open-minded to encompassing various views and a wide array of art forms with varied mediums.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
ES – I was particularly interested in participating in your exhibition because of the inclusivity of diverse art forms within a single venue and exhibition.