Shkoyach was a temporary projection created for the National Museum of American Jewish History in May 2017, curated by Conrad Benner of Streets Dept as part of Revolutionary, a series of public art installations in Old City Philadelphia
In this project, a series of pairs of watercolor portraits were projected at monumental scale within the NMAJH’s lobby. On a walk through the museum’s educational displays and collections in the main galleries, I collected some of the images on view of Jewish women engaged in social justice work across 100 years of American history. I then researched images of Black, Latina, and Asian women engaged in the same types of public actions, strikes, protests, and organizing meetings. The resulting watercolor portraits are intended to offer a personal and humanizing response to the extraordinary and ordinary heroism of these women. The title Shkoyach is a Yiddish expression often used to acknowledge and appreciate an act of bravery, wisdom, or chutzpah. It is a contraction of the more formal Hebrew “Yasher Koach”, and the literal translation is “May your strength be directed forward”. The expression, and this project, acknowledge both the importance of what has already been done, and the importance of using our strength for future action.