Lisa Rosowsky was in my freshman dorm in college and it’s been an absolute pleasure to watch her artistic career unfold as someone who makes political commentary about the Holocaust, as well as more contemporary times. Her art is multimedia and makes you think. It elicits a deeply emotional response, as art can do. I always learn from her art as well.
This is her show, Othering:
To “other” is to view or treat a person or a group of people as intrinsically different, to the point of making that person or group seem less than human. Even if we are unfamiliar with the term, we are all aware of the action and its devastating effects.
Lisa Rosowsky’s works use a range of media—found objects, photographs, text, and installation—to highlight how we “other” while urging us to understand history and our place within it. In Rosowsky’s words, “Othering negates individuals’ humanity. It makes us believe that certain others are less intrinsically worthy of dignity and respect. It leads us to form prejudices, to dehumanize entire groups of people based on ‘race,’ religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, and political beliefs. Worse, individual prejudices can begin to drive public policy, government institutions, laws, and the politically-sanctioned denial of human rights. Othering is at the root of individual acts of hate, as well as wars and genocide.”
Rosowsky’s work is both historical and contemporary, investigating the origins of why we “other,” how hate is manifested, and how we process and memorialize this visually. This exhibition includes works that address distinct events in history, but the prejudices and othering that run through each piece transcends time and place and the pieces themselves are an urgent call to action.
It’s hard to pick a favorite piece from her show, but I think the one about how the Nazis could immediately come to the home of the Jewish people that they deported and take a precise and complete inventory of their belongings in order to sort and resell them has been the most illuminating for me on people profit off hate crimes.
It’s similar to what happened to the Japanese Americans during WWII but I will get into that in another post but … always look at who profits from a hate crime. And if there is money to be made, how this is a powerful incentive and not unlike colonizing.
I hope you get a chance to see Lisa’s work in person. I highly recommend going if you get the chance!
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