michelle.starkman [at] aju.edu
American Jewish University Opens Its First Gallery Exhibition Since the Start of the Pandemic
American Jewish University presents A Legacy of Loss: There Were No Roses There, a solo exhibition by celebrated artist Jenny Yurshansky
LOS ANGELES – Today, American Jewish University (AJU) announces its first gallery exhibition by Arts at AJU since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Opening this Sunday, January 30th, the solo exhibition by celebrated artist Jenny Yurshansky, A Legacy of Loss: There Were No Roses There, explores family migration and the inherited trauma of exile in a series of new site-specific works.
Born stateless in Rome while her parents were fleeing Soviet-era Moldova, Yurshansky draws on her personal experience to examine the aftermath of immigration and inherited trauma – specifically, what is lost from the place of expulsion and how adopted homelands accept and respond to outsiders. Inspired by journeys back to Moldova, encounters with family artifacts gathered hastily before leaving, and reflections on the twists and turns of family lives, the exhibit invites viewers to explore their own collective and individual journeys.
Yurshansky conceived the gallery as an installation to be experienced from both inside and outside of the space. The titular sculpted glass, welded, charred, braised steel, and wood installation traces her family’s international migration routes, along with an audio guide that invites visitors to roam the natural world of AJU’s Smalley Family Sculpture Garden. Please click here to access the guide.
The exhibition also features a unique project created with and by students from Jewish day schools across Los Angeles, including Milken, De Toledo High School, and Shalhevet. During workshops held at AJU, Yurshansky led students on a journey to discover their voices by exploring family narratives of immigration, change, and resilience. Their familial stories, which traverse the globe from Iran to New York, were expressed through collages, images, and narratives folded into playful shapes of fortune-tellers. Their joint efforts have become the piece Unfolded Narratives, a large-scale quilt reminding us that all our stories are connected and pieced together.
“It is incredible to bring back creativity to the campus in this way and celebrate the next generation of our community,” said Dr. Rotem Rozental, AJU’s Chief Curator and Senior Director of Arts and Culture. “Jenny has a unique, clear voice as an artist, and we are excited to share it with our audiences.”
The project was organized as part of The Smalley Art Project, a new initiative of Arts at AJU, generously supported by Sondra and Marvin (Z’L) Smalley, which seeks to address the needs of children and youth in our Jewish community through creative expression and art. The project develops and offers impactful and compelling art programs for youth, children, and their families, reflecting AJU’s central role as a community convener through Jewish creativity. Additional support for the project was provided by Asylum Arts, CANVAS, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant.
The exhibition will be open for viewing by appointment only starting January 30 through May 12, 2022. Jenny Yurshansky will be present on Sunday, January 30th from 10 am-6 pm. Please reach out to arts [at] aju.edu to schedule a viewing.
About Arts at AJU
The Arts program at American Jewish University bridges individuals and communities through the power of art, offering pathways to better understand their identities and role in the world. Aligning with AJU’s larger vision and goals, the Arts program seeks to bring Jewish wisdom to the world, and advance and elevate Jewish journeys, across all backgrounds and denominations.
American Jewish University is a thriving center of Jewish resources and talent built upon the core values of Jewish Learning, Culture, Ethics, Leadership, and Peoplehood. In 2007, the University of Judaism acquired the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, creating a landmark entity, from then on known as American Jewish University. This new organization now boasts two campuses, a single vision, and a shared future. For more information, please visit www.aju.edu.
Michelle Starkman, M.A., MBA
Vice President, Communications