IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Naomi Davies’ expression and Jewish expectations
May 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm, by Timna Burston
Naomi Davies, “But what do I want?”, acrylic on canvas 16 inches by 20
In her own words:
I paint only with my fingers which transmit the intense emotion that I experience when I paint. My style seems to be part Modigliani, part German Expressionism. In this painting a young Jewish girl is weighing her desires with and against those of her family. She is contemplating what they want for her and weighing it against what she wants for herself.
” I have always been a good girl. I know a lot of my family perished in the camps. I know my grandparents left Eastern Europe just before the Holocaust. I know my whole family needs and expects me to vindicate their lives and choices.
But I am not sure that what they want for me is what I want for myself. They need me to go to an Ivy League school. ( Or failing that to Brandeis or Yeshiva University.) They need me to meet and marry a professional Jewish American.
They want me to produce a large family to spite Hitler.
But I am not sure what I want. I am not even sure who I am or even why I am.
What if I want just to live my life in defiance of or detachment from their past?
I am ambivalent but maybe that too is a choice.