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'Aeyola Omolara Kaplan



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Commissioned by Reconstructing Judaism for their day of learning in 2022/5783. Below is a statement from the artist. '


In creating this work, I wanted to dream about the euphoria that could be experienced through unity amongst the global community of marginalized people. It is my belief that the terrors that Jewish people face come from the same source as the terrors that Black brown and indigenous people face. In recognizing this united struggle, our strength and chance of victory against hate and oppression increase spectacularly. When we recognize the deep links between all people facing the threats of white supremacy, take time to understand each other and fight for each other, racism and anti-semitism won’t stand a chance. As much as the fight for reparations will take all of our collective solidarity, it will also require our collective spiritual conviction. I think that when our struggle transforms into a divine fight, guided by our promise to pursue justice, our success is only a matter of time.

In ‘Reparations in Pursuit of Repairing the World,’ I wanted to amplify the divine energies needed in building a real path towards tikkun olam. These divine energies are personified as restoration, equity, accountability, peace, sovereignty, and unity. The figures are given halos to represent their ethereal and spiritual nature. They are all on the back of a turtle, resting on Earth, symbolizing the indigenous concept of Turtle Island. I wanted to personify the land in order to suggest that the fight for justice is not just for the wellness of people, but also for the wellness of the Earth. Throughout the piece, there are floating strips of text, and signs that express the links between justice work and Jewish practice. I also included orbs in the sky which re present the planets, as well as the atoms which make up everything. With this, I wanted to honor the divinity within and all around us, indicating that we are never alone in this fight. This whole universe is an intricate and beautiful creation, just like us. We can find so much joy and beauty in our creation as beings committed to building a harmonious and just reality. From the life blood coursing through our veins, to the rivers on the earth, to the rainbows in the sky, to the streams of stars in our galaxy, we all play a role in our collective healing. A great deal of the piece was created intuitively, so I invite you to play with any of the imagery in the painting and intuitively develop your own ideas about what the scene means to you. It is through the celebration of everyone’s unique life experiences and perspectives that we can find our own particular ways of contributing to reparations.

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