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Passages
(installation at Ellis Island Museum of Immigration)

steel & felt facsimile of bunk beds (8' high) / bundles of cloth /
books / leather belts / 8'x8' framed chalkboard /
300 small chalkboards with children's writing

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Adrienne Klein’s work contrasts the dislocation experienced by immigrants and their desire for the continuity of their culture. Klein conjures up the unsettling experience of immigration and the sleepless nights that must have been spent in the dormitory rooms of Ellis Island.  The tableau has at its base a huge chalkboard written over with Hebrew script -- the language of a culture that many Jewish immigrants hoped to pass on to following generations. The evidence that this knowledge was received is written all over the walls; 300 school children wrote their name and letters of the Hebrew alphabet on individual slates. In this way the children demonstrated that they are the immigrants’ priceless legacy, bearing the gifts of belief and tradition willed to them by previous generations.

With thanks to the teachers and students of:
Congregation Agudat Achim Hebrew School
Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy of the Capital District
The Yeshiva of North Jersey

 

 

1999-2013  Adrienne Klein