The members of Jewish Artists Collective Chicago write about our stories, struggles, experiences, and musings, and how they inspire us to create contemporary Jewish art.

i am. an immigrant.

Intercontinental Curatorial Project

Art and Text by Dorit Jordan Dotan 

I wanted to curate an exhibition bringing together visual artists, to raise the issue of immigrants and refugees through the lens of fine art. I was interested in examining how Western nations’ attitudes towards mass migration resulted in vast demographic changes. 

I received an invitation for a residency from The Institut für Alles Mögliche in Berlin, moved there at the beginning of the pandemic’s outbreak in Europe, and began working. 

Demographic changes affect global and local politics, economies, urban affairs, and day- to-day life. For those who were lucky to be born in a stable, strong, democratic country, it is hard to accept those changes and can create fear of job loss and cultural change of the familiar culture. Immigrants are often the first and most affected by such changes, especially when adapting to a new nations’ social and behavioral codes. Moreover, history forewarns what can happen when hate, fear, and a sense of threat arises among people from differing cultures that now share the same space.

Making peace within oneself—coexisting with oneself and others—can be achieved in many ways. The group exhibition I envisioned and then created was a safe place to express and explore these clashes of culture.

I had less than a year to plan and complete the exhibition. It was interesting to see the work that artists submitted, and I found myself wondering: how was it that all the exhibitors were Jewish? Was it because we Jews carry our ancestors’ history and identify with every type oppression against any culture or race? I’m not sure. But all of the artists in this show are Jewish and are from the United States, the European Union, Canada, and Israel. JACC artists in the exhibition include: Alan Hobscheid, Ellen Holtzblatt, Judith Joseph, and me.