Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy

Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy

JEWISH HERITAGE EUROPE



Check out the rich resources on www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu -- an online clearing house for news and information on Jewish heritage that I coordinate as a project of the Rothschild Foundation Europe




Thursday, May 12, 2011

Slovenia -- Maribor Synagogue Becomes Independent Jewish Culture and Research Institute; Calls for Participants in Arts Competition

Photo: Tamino Petelinsek/STA
By Ruth Ellen Gruber

The medieval synagogue in Maribor, Slovenia, which was restored 10 years ago to become a culture center,  was transformed last month into "an independent public institution serving as a museum and a cultural and research center dedicated to preserving the heritage of what was once a thriving Jewish community in Slovenia."

To celebrate both the 10th anniversary of the restoration and the new independent status of the institution, the Maribor Synagogue - the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage has issued a call for artists to take part in an international competition called "Images of the Maribor Synagogue".

The synagogue is one of Slovenia's most important Jewish heritage sites and one of the oldest known synagogues in Europe.

I have visited the synagogue in Maribor several times, including before its restoration. The compact building, with a high peaked roof, stands in the heart of the medieval Jewish quarter (still known as Zidovska ulica) and is believed to date from the 13th century. Its exact date and original appearance are unknown, however. Already in 1501 -- a few years after the Jews were expelled from that part of Slovenia -- it was converted into a church. It functioned as a church until the late 18th century. In the early 19th century it was sold and turned into a warehouse and, later, a dwelling.

Long empty, the building was renovated in the 1990s and reopened as a cultural center in 2001. The only physical evidence that the building was once a synagogue is the large niche in the eastern wall, presumably for the Ark. Also, numerous stone fragments with carved Hebrew inscriptions were found during excavations for the renovation.

Here is the full press release about the arts competition:
In Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, stands one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Central Europe. Well preserved and renovated it’s an exceptional, world-renowned cultural and historical monument. Maribor was until the exile of Jews in 1496 one of the cores of medieval Jewry, radiating into the broader European space. In the second quarter of the 15th century the synagogue was the seat of high rabbinate for the lands Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, but after Jews were exiled from Maribor it was transformed into a catholic church.
From the end of 18th century until the end of last century the space of the former synagogue was used as a warehouse and later as residential premises. Only after many renovations during the 90-ties the synagogue’s former image was restored. Since April 2001 the synagogue is the location of the cultural centre Maribor Synagogue ; many cultural events, including historical and art exhibitions, lectures, presentations, literary evenings, concerts … had been organized in its interiors. In the past few years the greater part of the program is concerned with and dedicated to the presentation of Jewish history, tradition and cultural heritage.
The synagogue is a simple gothic building ; the ground plan is rectangular with two vaulted fields. Written records first mentioned it in 1429, but particular architectural fragments, dating to the 14th and late 13th century, indicate that it’s undeniably older. On its south side three gothic stepped buttresses, that support it on the former medieval town walls, can be seen. The eastern side is embellished by a rosette and two tall, narrow windows. On the inner side of the synagogue a niche, where the Tora scroll was most probably held, is still preserved.
The Maribor synagogue is without doubt a remarkable cultural-historical monument and is considered amongst architectural rarities not only in Slovenia but also internationally. And its specific position in the former Jewish quarter inside the town walls has since medieval times fascinated and inspired artists from Europe and throughout the world. This year the cultural center Maribor Synagogue, since April 2011 the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage, is celebrating its decennial anniversary, and to mark this special occasion we’re proud to announce an open call to artists for the international fine arts competition Images of the Maribor Synagogue.
We would like to encourage Slovene and foreign artist to fully experience this important and interesting cultural-historical building that mirrors the faith of Jewry in Maribor, Slovenia and Europe. Authors can present their visions in different drawing, painting or/and graphic techniques, unlimited in their artistic expression.
A three-member jury, consisting of acclaimed experts in the fields of art history, history and art, will review the entered art works. The selected works will be shown at an exhibition at the Maribor Synagogue. This competition has three awards, first, second and third place. The winners and authors of the chosen works will be notified on the jury’s decision until February 2012. The organizer is withholding the right not to reward the awards, on the ground of the jury’s decision. The exhibition of selected works will be on display in the Maribor Synagogue from June until August 2012.

The deadline for submitting entry is November 30th 2011. Authors have to submit a filled-in application form, brief curriculum vitae and reproductions of entered works in a digital form with a corresponding color scale. The reproductions have to be prepared and submitted in resolution suitable for publishing in printed media. Application is to be submitted electronically to the following Email : koordinator@sinagogamaribor.si. Authors can enter no more than three fine art works (drawing, painting, graphic, mixed techniques), please note that photographs and sculptures will not be taken into consideration.

Works formats : • Paintings on canvas : min. size : 50 × 70 cm (19,7 × 27,6 inch), max. size : 100 × 120 cm (39,4 × 47,2 inch). • Graphics, aquarelles, drawings : min. size : 21 × 30 cm (8,3 × 11,8 inch ; format A4), max. size : 100 × 120 cm (39,4 × 47,2 inch).

The terms and conditions for entering the competition are as follows : • With the entry to this competition the authors must create new works, previously never shown on exhibition nor published in the media. • With the entry to this competition the authors attest that the works submitted are their sole and original works. • With the entry to this competition the authors attest for the accuracy of the information supplied in the application form. • With the entry to this competition the authors accept, that any costs regarding their entry and participation in the competition (material, postal fees, shipping and transport fees for the works in case they’ll be selected for the exhibition ; and travel and accommodation expenses in case of the author’s visit to the exhibition site) are at their expense. • The organizer of the competition attest, that the authors works stay at all time in the authors ownership and will be returned after the closure of the exhibition.

IMPORTANT : Please note that the application form, brief CV and titles of the works, on the application form as well as on the digital files of the entered reproductions, must be filled-in either in English or Slovene, other languages will not be taken into consideration.


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