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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)

 

"Last Year in Jerusalem"
with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

 
Click here to watch a video of the event

21 January 2021

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

We were delighted to welcome Scottish artist Stuart Duffin RSA as speaker in the first of SCoJeC’s new Lecture Series, to talk about his long-standing fascination with the city of Jerusalem and his many visits to work there.

Born in 1959, Stuart studied Fine Art Printmaking at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen from 1978 to 1982. He has had a long-standing involvement with Glasgow Print Studio and is currently the Studio Etching Master, working mostly in etching, mezzotint, digital printmaking, and oil painting.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

Stuart first travelled to Israel in 1996, when he took part in an international artists exchange between the Glasgow Print Studio and the Jerusalem Print Workshop, and he has been going back regularly ever since.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

The Jerusalem Print Workshop is on Rechov haNevi’im, the Street of the Prophets – the street sign on the bullet-marked walls of the building appears in many of his works – and is only 50 metres from the boundary between East and West Jerusalem, between the ultra-orthodox area of Mea Shearim and the Damascus Gate.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

Stuart explained that his art reflects the themes of the coexistence movement, and reflects the religious divisions in Jerusalem. He explained that he uses the principle of ancient map-making: the more important a place is, the larger, and closer to the centre, it appears on the map. He told us that the old maps and modern views of Jerusalem that form the central images in most of his art works express the idea that the welfare of Jerusalem acts as a barometer of the spiritual welfare of the entire world, and of ourselves, not only as individuals but collectively as a society.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

Stuart’s talk was followed by a question and answer session that took place using the Zoom chat function. Stuart is extremely hard of hearing, so this was an excellent example of how technology can help facilitate communication and participation for everyone. As well as elaborating on his conception of the centrality of Jerusalem, Stuart reflected on his exhibition that had opened just a few days before 9/11 at the Glasgow Print Studio; some of the works had included the image of a stylised bomb in the form of a miniature planet earth with a burning fuse, and reviewers had commented on the “timeliness” of his art.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin
"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

One member of the audience commented: “Compassion and coexistence are also Jerusalem values” and quoted an article that describes the city as “a provincial town where everybody knew each other, whether they were from Kurdistan or Bessarabia, or part of the native Sephardic elite who still spoke Ladino in cafés where they played backgammon while drinking arak to the sound of songs by Farid el-Atrashe … in vivid contrast with the feelings of the Tel Aviv liberals who see Jerusalem as a hotbed of fanaticism and outmoded Levantine customs”.

"Last Year in Jerusalem" with Scottish artist Stuart Duffin

Another participant said, “Amazing, Stuart. Your talk has demonstrated honesty and highlighted the importance of art and of the artist in many aspects of life, politics and society. It’s so relevant in current times to maintain a focus on this”, while a third thanked us for the opportunity to come together as a community and wrote that Stuart’s work is “haunting, real and compassionate!  Stuart you and your work are very inspirational.  Thank you and everyone else who helped bring us together in community!”.

Visit Stuart's website to see more examples of his art.

 
Click here to watch a video of the event
 

Art images © Stuart Duffin RSA; used with kind permission of the artist.

With thanks to the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust for their support of SCoJeC’s event programme.

 

   
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