Friday, November 03, 2006

Australian artist inspired by her native Egypt

Artist Camille Fox reveals the forgotten world of 1930s Jewish Egypt in her current exhibition, Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Era, at the Jewish Museum of Australia until 26 November. Australian Jewish News reports (with thanks: Albert):

Photo: Peter Haskin

"Revealing the glory days of Egyptian Jewry, Fox’s pieces recall her grandfather’s stories of the colourful place she lived until age seven.

“I feel that this collection of paintings has given voice to a voiceless people who were displaced from their country of birth,” Fox, who is based in Sydney, told the AJN.

“They left the place where their families had lived for generations and started their lives again in other countries. Gradually, as time passed, stories were lost, their sense of place dissolved, and nothing was passed down.”

"Although she was born in Alexandria, Fox always identified more strongly as French than Egyptian, until her husband Tony encouraged her to make a trip over to Egypt while visiting their son in Israel. It was a journey that inspired her latest exhibition.

“When I got there it was eerie and surreal,” she explains.

“Until then I hadn’t said anything about Egypt. [My family] left in 1956 during the Suez crisis when I was nearly seven, and we went to Israel and then to Australia but never back to Egypt.”

"After touring throughout Egypt, Fox and her husband took a bus to Alexandria to find some of the addresses written down by her mother – a task which became troublesome for Fox as the original street names and numbers had all been changed.

But after getting directions from an elderly man, Fox chanced upon her grandfather’s old house. She was overcome with emotion when she saw his initials carved into the property’s antique gate.

Read article in full

1 comment:

avishalom said...

I am pleased to have found this post (and the blog, more generally). I did not know of the Jews of Egpyt who felt as more French than Egyptian until a man from Egypt showed up at our shul one day and I heard him speak French with one of our congregants. His story, which I relate in one of my posts, was fascinating.