University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Haim Maor : New Work 2006 and Beyond

    New Work 2006 and Beyond - Haim Maor

    Maor's Parents were Holocaust survivers and arrived in Israel without anything from their parents` destroyed world.. They turned their new home in Israel into a replica of their homes in Poland, by decorating it with pictures, art works, and black and white photographs of the deceased family members hanging in several rows on top of each other, like a hall of fame of the elders made up of all the dead faces Haim never knew. On the walls there are also various Gobelins-like tapestries in gilded frames in which one sees various scenes of flirtations as in Rococo period art, garden parties, and princes and princesses in their best attire. All reminding folkstories or French Rococo or Polish noblity of the 18th cent. These "new" Gobelins were purchased in Israel, partly ready made and partly woven by his sisters. For Haim, just as for his parents, all those were thought to be usefulĀ  to raise the spirits and the fading memories of "There"--the destroyed Diaspora. Haim`s Father claimed that his mother, the late Pesia Moshkovitz, loved to embroider and weave, while his father the late Haim-Benjamin Moshkovitz was a much sought after wall and picture painter. Haim`s maternal grandfather the late Ephraim Rutter was a stone cutter in Galicia Poland.

    "Djin-Eology"isĀ  made of ready made 'gobelins' reminding the ones at home. Yiddish Family names are embroidered (Papa. Mama, Opa ,Oma etc.) each section is framed in black, together they are made into a 'family tree' or the Menora.

    Haim claims that by using these techniques and these materials as well as quoting the Yiddish words, he preserves and re-enlives the "Dead World", unlike others who see it as a 'naive' or 'bourgeois' or 'Diaspora' for him it is a pure period that preceded the big horrors of the 20th century.

    "Jinn" in Arabic (like "genie") is also a reference point here. Jinns are thought to be disruptive of human life. The jinns were thought by some to be spirits that are lower than angels because they are made of fire and are not immortal. They can take on human and animal shapes to influence men to do good or evil. They are quick to punish those indebted to them who do not follow their many rules.

    In the same way, one might say that Maor's "Djins" have a haunting quality because they represent an absent past.

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    Above: Djin-Eology, 1997. Digitized emproidery on tapestry. Estimated measurements are 180 x 180cm.

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    Above: Tapestry painted in camouflage, with the words in Yiddish (the same as German): "Ich bin ein Yid" ("I am a Jew"), 2006.

    Forbidden Library Tapestry Forbidden Library Tapestry

    Above: Two tapestries from "The Forbidden Library" about colorblindness.