Sculptor Professor Rachel Stevens has just arrived in Lviv, Ukraine where she will conducting research during her second experience as a Fulbright Scholar. The title of her research is the “Forest Grows in the Synagogue: Reimagining the Galician Landscape Through Sculpture”.
In western Ukraine few obvious features of Galicia’s Jewish culture remain, as the Holocaust effectively erased Jews from the region’s human geography. However, remnants of Jewish culture can still be seen in the Ukrainian landscape. Rachel Stevens’ Fulbright will focus on creating sculptures based on these sites and sharing them with Ukrainian and American audiences. Her proposal is an artistic embodiment of a Hebrew term, tikkun olam, often understood as a call to repair the world.
Stevens will locate and emotionally respond to the region’s rich, but visually cryptic, Jewish history. She will divide her time between fieldwork in the towns and countryside, and studio work in Lviv, where she will also collaborate with the Center of Urban History of East Central Europe and the Lviv National Academy of Arts. Through her research, she will begin a body of artwork that will serve as a secondary witness to the Holocaust. Through her interactions with the landscape, architecture, and community members, she will visually transcribe the vernacular fragments of Galicia’s rich Jewish history into new artworks.
This is Rachel’s 2nd Fulbright. In 2006 she was a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal. She served as a Fulbright Ambassador, 2009-2012, and was a member of the Fulbright Discipline Review Committee, 2007-2008.