‘Making Connections’, the fourth annual exhibition of artwork produced by Jewish students, took place on Thursday 8 June.
Over 130 community members and students joined artists and their families and friends to celebrate the culmination of Incubator 2017. We were thrilled that although the date of ‘Making Connections’ coincided with the General Election polling day, this year’s exhibition was the highest attended in recent years.
This year’s programme featured 15 student artists who study at a range of institutions throughout the UK.
Incubator empowers creative Jewish students to explore, discover, own and portray their Jewish identity and personal relationships with Israel through artistic expression. The programme also nurtures talent by providing mentorship and workshops throughout the year to assist students in developing their pieces, with support and funding from UJS and UJIA.
This year, students heard from artists including Amit Baruch, who works with textiles and mixed media, and photographer Liron Weissman. Robin Moss, the head of Israel Engagement for UJIA, led sessions exploring Israel and Jewish Identity. These sessions helped students to combine artistic growth with personal discovery as they created original and deeply personal works.
The programme culminated with the exhibition which included photography, canvas painting, fashion design, textiles, live music and music composition.
Incubator participant Lauren Good, of Middlesex J-Soc, said:
‘Participating in Incubator allowed me to explore my own identity as a progressive Jew and a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, as well as my ever-changing and evolving relationship with Israel, through my creative passions and talents. The works I produced – two fashion outfits, a film and a visual journal of my explorations through Incubator – are filled with religious symbolism, progressive life and utility wear, with connotations of the Israeli Defence Forces, religion, tradition and Jewish history. Collectively, they depict my belief that Israel’s existence is imperative for Jewish people of all backgrounds, as a diverse and inclusive society.
I feel that my relationship with both Israel and the Jewish community at large has been strengthened by my participation in Incubator. I was honoured to be able to give back to the community by showing my work at ‘Making Connections’, the Incubator exhibition and I would like to say thank you to UJS and UJIA for the opportunity.’
Emanuele Boccia, UJS Programmes Manager, said:
‘“Making Connections”, the exhibition of UJS Incubator 2017, was an incredible evening. It was truly inspiring to work together with so many talented artists from various backgrounds and universities, supporting them to build such an incredible exhibition – which was itself the culmination of an inspiring year-long programme. The works showcased a deep and meaningful connection to Israel and to personal identities which made this program unique in its theme and quality. The diversity of works produced emphasise the diversity of Jewish students and their relationships with Israel – each artist demonstrated a different way of connecting to Judaism and Israel, highlighting religion, history, family, friends, culture and more. As a programme that allows for personal development alongside public showcasing, Incubator 2017 has been a huge success. I am proud of all the student artists who participated and grateful to UJIA who made it possible through their support.’
Robin Moss, Head of the UJIA Centre for Israel Engagement, said:
‘The UJS Incubator show is the culmination of many months of the students engaging in a creative way with Israel. Their talents shone through - their works were extraordinary. UJIA is proud to support the UJS Incubator as part of our commitment to UJS' Israel Engagement work.’