Portraits of a Life in Chains
A permanent exhibition has been unveiled at Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha offices, which displays works of art commissioned by the organization to highlight the plight of chained women.
Ohr Torah Stone opened a permanent art exhibition this month at the flagship offices of Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center and Hotline. The twelve works of art present different aspects in the life of an aguna – a chained woman. In some of the photographs on display, chained women express their sense of being trapped and being denied their freedom. Other drawings convey the emotions of women who had been chained to marriages by recalcitrant husbands but who have now been set free.
The focus of the exhibition is the “Coat of the Agunot,” by well-known artist Andi Arnovitz. This work, which had been on display in the Jerusalem home of the late Marcel and Belda Lindenbaum z”l, was donated by the Lindenbaum family.
The other twelve works were curated from projects commissioned by Yad La’isha. “Status Pending,” a photographic exhibition which was displayed in the Knesset in 2016 on International Aguna Day, focused on the impossible situation in which women served by Yad La’isha find themselves; and “Illustrating Freedom” is a series of greeting cards illustrated by Israeli artists based upon the stories of Yad La’isha clients who had been freed by the Center from their chained marriages, reflecting their dreams for a new life.
“The exhibition offers a unique perspective on the status of chained women,” says Yad La’isha director Pnina Omer. “Words become superfluous when the media of photographaphy and illustration are used. Visitors to this exhibition are emotionally drawn into the world of the aguna and are given an opportunity to face up to the individual journey that the chained women and those who are still refused a get endure. Each woman has her own story, difficulties and challenges on her anguished journey to freedom. The exhibition we commissioned is another way of increasing awareness of the plight of chained women. Yad La’isha will continue working to release these women, a mission we began 20 years ago.”
The exhibition is open to the public by prior arrangement. Guided tours are available for groups. Free entry.