Two artists bring international flavor to The J Patio Gallery

Rachel Singel, a local artist and professor at the University of Louisville opened her show, The Art and Architecture of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, Italy on January 8. The exhibit examines the Venetian Jewish Ghetto, as it turned 500 years old in 2016 and the influence the urban space has had on contemporary architecture. Singel visited Venice for two months to study the “city within a city.” While there, she etched the buildings and streets of the ghetto.

Her artwork reveals the significance of the architecture. “Its structures are resonantly symbolic—representing a community’s resolute will to survive and prosper in what was an exceedingly hostile social environment,” said Singel.

Singel’s goal was to not only recreate the buildings, but to but to express the emotions and soul of the city, opening the Jewish community of Venice to the world. The exhibit runs through February 21.

Following Singel, The J Patio Gallery will host Naftali Hilger, a photojournalist who took seven journeys to Yemen over 30 years. The Israeli born photographer brought his eye and camera to bring Yemen’s small but ancient Jewish community to life.

His first trip to the Middle Eastern country was in 1987, to celebrate the completion of his MBA. The Yemenite Jewish community was cut off from the rest of the outside world, he became one of the first Israelis to visit in more than 40 years. He led six more trips to the remote community, reconnecting families split between Yemen and Israel through 2008. He also spent time documenting Muslim Yemenites as well – its markets, landscapes and the architecture of Sana’a and its rural villages. Hilger’s photographs will be on display beginning on February 26 and he will be in Louisville to present his work in early March.

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