The new temporary exhibition from Sarah Lee and Laura Nathan, Narratives: Threads and Testimony, comes to Manchester’s Jewish Museum in April.

The exhibition combines textile, installation and sound pieces to explore family history surrounding the Holocaust.

The work was created during a collaborative six-month residence by twelve artists brought together by Venture Arts, The Lowry and Castlefield Gallery, with support from associates Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust, Explorers Project and Manchester Jewish Museum.

Two of the artists; Laura Nathan and Sarah Lee worked at Manchester Jewish Museum during their residency period, exploring their family stories through art and discovering a shared family history of the Holocaust and Jewish heritage.

Laura Nathan - Identity and Heritgage through Textiles - image courtesy Chris Payne

Laura Nathan – Identity and Heritgage through Textiles – image courtesy Chris Payne

Speaking about exhibition, Laura Nathan said, “Some of my earliest childhood memories are focused around my grandparents’ unimaginable experiences in the Holocaust and I feel that generational trauma and anxiety has filtered from one generation to the next. Much of my work focuses around processing this dark history, dealing with anxieties, and exploring my identity as a culturally strong, yet secular Jewish woman.”

During their six-month residency, Sarah and Laura have visited Manchester Jewish Museum many times, met most of the museum’s staff and volunteers and created a series of reflective artistic responses influenced by their family stories, memories and the setting of the museum’s former synagogue.

Sarah created intimate hand embroidered pieces reinterpreting her grandfather’s experiences and the woodcarvings which he made to help process what he had been through. Sarah also gained inspiration through the repetition within the museum’s stained-glass windows and architecture.

Meanwhile Laura processed a large collection of family documents and testimonies through the creation of a textiles and sound-based installation, which she called Meine Geliebte Poppi (“My beloved Poppi”).

When does Narratives: Threads and Testimony run at Manchester Jewish Museum

Narratives: Threads and Testimony runs at Manchester Jewish Museum from 7 April 2023 until 9 May 2023.

Main image – Hand embroidered artwork by Sarah Lee – image courtesy Venture Arts