Female Waters showcases figurative works by Chani Cohen Zada based on traditional oil painting techniques. The paintings tell the stories of biblical female figures through the interpretive lens of Midrashic and Kabbalistic writings, revealing the mysteries that lie hidden in the unique feminine power of these heroines. The inspiration for the present exhibition is in Jewish mysticism’s conception of the physical and metaphysical as one reality, where the masculine and feminine aspects complement each other. In Kabbalah the two modes of the Divine service are called the “masculine waters” and the “feminine waters.” Whereas the masculine waters represent the descending flow of Divine benevolence from above, feminine waters represent the elevation from below that seeks to ascend and be received above. The relationship between God and humanity is often viewed as the meeting of these two streams. The works visualize narratives of women whose acts, albeit antinomian and against the mainstream, function as female waters (mayim nukvin) that connect between above and below, between heaven and earth. The images reflect the power of creation flowing through the feminine life forces, which can be seen as birth fluids. The unique forces connecting messianic mother figures, such as Rachel, Leah, Tamar, Miriam, Ruth, Nitzevet, Esther, and Yalta, as well as the female figure collecting sparks of light from the dark, and their actions for the sake of the Divine will channeling God’s manifestation in this world are portrayed. Alongside the rain from heaven, symbolizing the male attitude to religious commandments, the women’s approach is autonomous, based on love and not obedience. By means of their feminine wisdom, derived from other sources, from the water’s depths, these female figures choose to awaken, soften and mend the world through a vision of messianic history stemming from their own stories.
(The Wolfson Museum of Jewish Art)
Address: 58 King George St.
Sunday- Thursday: 10am-5pm