Storytelling, Art-Direction, Photography, Textiles, Writing

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There is beauty to be found in embracing the multiplicity of stories that constitute my identity. I am all these things. The essence of home is portable and fluid - always growing and adapting, fusing and mingling with different times, places and people, expressing itself in new forms and stories.

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© 2021 Lara Bongard, all rights reserved

The Girl Who Crossed the River with a Tablecloth


“Can anyone ever truly return to the land of one’s memory? Or is remembering the only form that such return can be actualized?”
(Um, 2012: 845)

The word ‘history’ is absent in the Hebrew language, instead the word ‘Zikaron’ זִכָּרוֹן is used, which means 'memory'. As rabbi Mendel Kalmenson beautifully articulates: “Without me there is no memory. Memory is a part of me, and history, apart from me.”

In the winter of 2019, I received the 100-year old embroidered Sabbath Tablecloth, the only surviving memorabilia from the erased world of my ancestors, which marked the beginning of my in-depth research into the scattered history of my family. The project started out of a longing to find a deeper understanding of my past and explore a heritage that was covered in dust. I merged myself through the layers of time, crossing one world to another, simultaneously. Trying to find colour in what seemed like complete absence - through slowly uncovering, unfolding, dusting, excavating, re-collecting and assembling the fragments of a lost home.

This project is a homage to my ancestors, as well as a search for identity and cultural heritage. The project has taken me to Israel to retrace scattered family members and to Ukraine to visit the lost villages of my ancestors. This project aims to challenge our relationship to the past and to acknowledge the multiplicity of stories in ourselves. All these stories make up who we are.

The project consists of three parts - two books, vol. I + II and a performative audio-piece. 
Graduation Project MFA

Books vol. i+ii >>
Installation & Performance >>
Project archive >>