Enter the Garden
(8 min) Naomie Kremer‘s work is a perfect example of what happens when we take stories from the Hebrew bible and layer them into our own autobiographies. Creative work is successful when it takes something we think we know- like Genesis! -and makes it particular and personal, which Naomie does beautifully in this film. Her work reminds us that Torah isn’t something we have to approach didactically or scholarly. We don’t always need to be learning a lesson or proving a point. Instead, like Naomie, we can wander around it with a child’s dreamlike consciousness and, through this, experience it anew and connect with it in different ways. While Naomie’s story is specific to her life, she creates an opening through which we can all enter the Garden and consider the magic and chaos. And, if we so choose, find our own way out.
Artist Statement: As a little girl in Israel, I read the Bible with my father every Saturday afternoon. We read from a real bible, with commentary surrounding the small island of original text. There were no illustrations, so I had to form my own pictures in my mind. The story of creation was my favorite. The words Tohu Vavohu, right in the second sentence, made me dream: the first picture formed – confusion and chaos and blue black mist with no separation between anything. And as the story unfolded, the pictures continued to form in my mind.
In 2016 I made a 40-minute film with the documentary filmmaker David Grubin called The Beginning of Desire. The script was based on David’s interviews with Biblical scholar Avivah Zornberg, and my animations were the visual content of the film. I subsequently realized there was something I still wanted to express about my childish preoccupations with this story.
“My Genesis” is a short version of this, with my narration as the story line, created during my residency as an East Bay LABA fellow in 2020.
Elissa Strauss is the artistic director of LABA East Bay, and the director of strategy and communications for LABA: A laboratory for Jewish culture, a global network in through which classic Jewish texts are used to inspire the creation of art, culture, conversation, and community. Additionally, Elissa is a writer and cult...
Take a minute and consider the story of the Garden of Eden from a child's point-of-view. What do you notice? How do you feel?
Do you remember any biblical stories from your childhood? Which one impacted you?
Naomie's childhood experience of learning about the Garden of Eden was very visual. What do you see when you close your eyes and imagine it? Is it a place you would like to go?
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