Bareket Kezwer’s Both& inspires us to consider the plague of binary thinking. Passover is a holiday celebrating the duality of freedom and slavery, a time when we intentionally hold the paradox of life—the inseparability and interdependence of seemingly contradictory phenomena. Holding this paradox is not only part of fulfilling the mitzvah of retelling the story of our exodus from Egypt into the land of Israel, but also a lesson that can support us embracing the wholeness of life—especially as we navigate the uncertainty of this global pandemic. Slavery and freedom. Connection and alienation. Division and solidarity. Struggle and growth. Beauty and ugliness. Pleasure and pain. Simcha and sorrow. Recognizing that we cannot have one without the other, Bareket’s mural invites viewers to explore how we can create space and acceptance by shifting our perspective.
Bareket Kezwer is a Toronto-based muralist, community art facilitator, curator, producer, and eternal optimist. Her work is motivated by a desire to spread joy, cultivate gratitude, and foster new social interactions. Using aerosol and acrylic paint as well as digital design, she works with bright colors and bold patterns to captivate people’s attention and fill them with delight. She is passionate about creating art that both aesthetically and psychologically brightens the streets.
Her belief that public art is a powerful tool for building community drives her practice. She is the founder and creative director of Women Paint, an annual street art event that has produced 80 murals celebrating the strength and diversity of women and non-binary artists and community members.
Over the last seven years, she has created custom large-scale artworks for clients including The New Yorker, Tourism Canada, the City of Toronto, the City of Mississauga, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Toronto, Facebook, and Airbnb.
Jewish Street Art Festival Passover 2021 - Contemporary Plagues is produced by Asylum Arts and Hillel Smith, in collaboration with LABA, and made possible with the generous support of CANVAS. Murals have been created in New York City, Charlotte and Toronto. In Toronto, Bareket Kezwer’s mural at the Miles Nadal JCC engage with the plague of binary thinking, and is in partnership with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Mike Wirth’s mural in Charlotte at the Queens University of Charlotte in partnership with the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte, makes visible the plague of housing insecurity. Hillel Smith’s paired murals in New York City, at JCC Harlem and Repair the World NYC, engage with food insecurity. Maya Ciarrocchi’s mural at the 14th St Y in New York and the video installtions at ZAZ10TS in explores the plague of grief and loss.
Rabbi Abby Stein
Please find the written response “Makah/Plague of the Binary” here.
Rabbi Abby Stein is a Jewish educator, author, speaker, and activist. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family of rabbinic descent, and is a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Abby attended Yeshiva, completing a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore a self-determined life. In 2015 Abby came out as a woman of trans experience. Since coming out, she has been working to raise support and awareness for trans rights and those leaving Ultra-Orthodoxy.
Her story has been covered in the New York Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Jewish Daily Forward, Daily Mail, NBC, Vogue, InStyle, and more, as well as live appearances on CNN, Fox News, HuffPost Live, ShowTime, NowThis, PopSugar and internationally. In 2016, Abby was named by The Jewish Week as one of the “36 Under 36″.