EAST LANSING, Mich., Nov. 2022 – This month the Michigan State University Libraries will be hosting a traveling exhibit that showcases a mosaics project created as an artistic response to the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue building in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018.
“From Darkness to Light: Mosaics Inspired by Tragedy” was initiated by Susan Ribnick of Austin, Texas, in the days following the massacre that occurred during Sabbath worship services and took the lives of 11 people. Ribnick, who is co-president of the Austin Mosaic Guild (AMG) and owner of Vintage Mosaic in Austin, described the origin of this idea as a visceral reaction to the tragedy.
“I called a board meeting the day after the shooting to express my outrage and stop ruminating about a tragic event directed toward Jewish people. What ensued was a long and intense discussion about how we might respond and send a message that a shooting, any shooting, be it a school, a church, a mosque or a synagogue, is a reprehensible action that has consequences. This is how the Tree of Life project began on an overcast afternoon in Austin, Texas,” Ribnick said.
The exhibit “From Darkness to Light: Mosaics Inspired by Tragedy” is cosponsored by the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at MSU. What started originally as a project of 10 artists local to Austin has expanded to include 36 pieces created by artists across the United States and five other countries. The MSU Libraries will have 34 metal reproductions of those original mosaic pieces on display from Nov. 14 through Dec. 22.
The MSU Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel engages in the interdisciplinary study of the history, cultures, language(s), identities, and religion of the Jewish people. While the program encompasses the historical and geographic breadth of Jewish experiences, it shows particular strength in five key areas: American Jewish history, culture, and literature; European Jewish History and Holocaust Studies; Hebrew; Israel Studies; and Judaism.
The MSU Libraries are at the center of academic life at Michigan State University, providing expertise, collections, and infrastructure for discovery and creation. The Libraries facilitate connections that support research, teaching, and learning in our local and global communities. The Libraries also promote equal access to information and spaces for all and lead meaningful initiatives in accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Contact: Elise Jajuga