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Yeshivat Frisch Art Students Reflect on Anti-Semitism Through Abstract Art

February 27, 2020

Students in Yeshivat Frisch’s 12th grade mixed media elective and 12th grade honors art recently created abstract works reflecting the students’ thoughts and feelings about anti-Semitism over the past year. To introduce them to the complexities of abstract art, they had the opportunity to hear from Argentinian-Israeli artist Laura Murlender, who, at age 19, as a result of her Zionist affiliations, was abducted and tortured by Argentinian forces for 11 days, while the country was under military rule in the 1970s. (During this time, 30 thousand people disappeared.) After Murlender’s release, she moved to Israel, where she utilized art as part of her healing process and attended Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Murlender spoke about her life as well as went into depth about her work, giving the students a new perspective about abstract art.

“The talented speaker challenged us to look beyond our current understanding of art,” said 12th grade honors art student Naomi Mosbacher. “She taught us how to portray emotion and feelings, using our knowledge of the principles of design.”

Frisch Visual Arts Program Director Ahuva Winslow noted that although the students’ work could have focused entirely on the bloody, grim nature of recent anti-Semitic events, all the students included hopeful elements within their works—something that was entirely their choice and not influenced by her instruction. “There is something positive in every piece which was their natural reaction to what they were expressing, which is so beautiful,” said Winslow. “I don’t think it’s a naive thing. They understand in such a sophisticated way that with all the terrible things going on there is some overarching reason or force, and they express it so naturally.”