Yona Verwer 

Paintings, Interactive Mixed Media,

& Murals  

 

Dutch-born Yona Verwer is an artist in New York. She creates works that explore identity, immigration, heritage, tikkun olam, and kabbalah.


Verwer holds a master’s degree in fine art from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, and has shown and curated in galleries and museums nationally and internationally.


Her work has been exhibited at the Andy Warhol Factory, Jerusalem Biennale, the Bronx Museum, Yeshiva University Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, Center for Jewish History, Mizel Museum, Reginald Lewis Museum of African-American Art, Canton Museum of Art, and the Holocaust Memorial Center.


She has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Ars Judaica, the Huffington Post, the Daily News, the Forward, the Jewish Week, Sh’ma Journal, Zeek and the Jewish Press.


Her current series The Book of Yona, a collaboration with Katarzyna Kozera, weaves together their immigration stories with the biblical story of Yona’s namesake, the prophet Jonah (Yona), who, as the story goes, fled his homeland, and in a bad storm was tossed into the sea and swallowed by a whale. This series echoes the artists’ own journeys from Europe to New York.


In a collaboration with Katarzyna Kozera and Dan Schwartz she is currently working on Sin City, an interactive installation, focusing on Amsterdam’s past and present problem in one particular area, the red light district. In the past this area was part of the Jewish quarter, where its Jewish population was deported to the Nazi death camps; it’s current problem is sex trafficking.


Most of these artworks are enhanced by “augmented reality”. Viewers use a smartphone or tablet to hone in on a spot in the painting, which triggers a video embedded in the artwork, leading the viewer closer to the layered narrative. These images and videos created by the artists incorporate artifacts, sounds, family photographs, ancient texts, as well as contemporary source materials.

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Moving an ipad over the paintings to

reveal the augmented reality / hidden

videos.


At the ARt, ARchitecture & AR exhibition,

Art Kibbutz, Governors Island, a

collaboration between artists

Cynthia Beth Rubin and Yona Verwer.

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Her series Urim & Tumim, partially also with Katarzyna Kozera, explores the current crisis in the Middle East. “Urim and Tumim”, which translates to "Light and Truth", refers to an ancient biblical tool of prophecy known as “The Breastplate of Judgment.” During times of war, this item was worn and consulted for determining territorial boundaries, an issue still very alive today.


In her series History, Heritage and the Lower East Side, a collaboration with Cynthia Beth Rubin, the interactive art work allows you to explore hidden videos.

 

Her protest art “Tightrope” , an installation previously at the Y.U. Museum, explores the impact that the lack of an eruv on the Lower East Side had on families with young children.


Her "Kabbala of Bling" series commented on the appropriation of Kabbala by pop icons. Her “City Charms” amulet photographs invoke protection from acts of destruction on buildings, particularly terror-watch-list targets.

Verwer continues this theme in Temple Talismans; these apotropaic images aim to protect synagogues against attacks.



She is the director & co-founder of the Jewish Art Salon, the world’s largest Jewish visual arts organization. She is a cultural producer, curator and educator.


Past speaking engagements in NYC were at The Jewish Museum, the JCC Manhattan, the Y.U. Museum, the 14 Street Y, the American Sephardi Federation NY, the Educational Alliance, amongst others.


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