Documentation of the ancient Jewish ritual of Candle-Lighting on Friday night before sunset, as well as on the eve of Jewish holidays. The custom is for women over the age of three to light a candle (married women light one for each member of their immediate family) and recite a blessing to welcome the holy Shabbat, after which one refrains from any work or technology until nightfall on Saturday. This sacred time is used to pray, reflect and bring warmth, peace and light into the home and world. Photographs were taken of my family and I in Melbourne as well as on recent travels overseas to the USA for the Jewish High Holidays, in addition to collected images from family all over the world continuing this special tradition that has been passed down for generations, for more than 4000 years. The project links rituals through both time and space, historic and ancestral and around the world in the present. Accompanied by recorded musical performances of traditional Hebrew/Jewish songs as well as original compositions, I reveal the richness, beauty as well as challenges of an ancient culture within a contemporary 21st-century society.  

Through the lens of my own personal experience as a woman, artist and singer part of a Jewish, Ultra-Orthodox, Chabad-Hassidic family and community, my current art practice explores themes of identity, womanhood, cultural heritage, values and traditions, through painting, musical performance and photography. By sharing an emotive and thought-provoking series of work with a unique perspective, I hope to instigate conversation around the significance of showcasing diverse identity experiences, to form connection and understanding, inspire curiosity and discourse as well as shed light on and give voice to diversity and equality, in order to encourage positive change. This project is dedicated to my beloved maternal-grandmother, Assia New, who passed away this year and inspired in me and all who knew her, a deep love and appreciation for family, community, tradition, music and sharing ones unique light to make the world a bit brighter.

instagram: @zahavapinson

Zahava Pinson