Dwelling in a Time of Plagues: At Our Table

From Olivia Guterson, “At Our Table” is a reimagining of a Passover table constructed from locally sourced, discarded single-use plastics, illuminating the concept of convenience, throwaway culture, and environmental responsibility during a holiday centered on the joy and the sacrifices necessary in finding our own personal liberation. The installation is an extension of our Plastover project and a part of the CANVAS series Dwelling in a Time of Plagues.

The CANVAS Jewish arts and culture funding collaborative has mobilized Jewish artists, authors, artistic and cultural networks, and museums for “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” a Jewish creative response to the real-world plagues of our time.

CANVAS-commissioned works will be displayed online at and at museums and sites throughout North America, including in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New York and Toronto. They will also be featured in a downloadable PDF designed to spark conversation and reflection at seder tables and beyond.

These new works — outdoor sculptures, murals, essays, audio pieces, videos, and digital art experiences — reinterpret the themes of Passover in response to our times. Collectively, these commissions grapple with contemporary plagues, such as the global pandemic, homelessness, institutional racism, xenophobia, ageism, forced isolation, binary thinking, and the climate crisis. Each plague will also feature a literary response or a component based on a collaboration between the artist and an author. The literary component will be curated by the Jewish Book Council and participating authors include Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Sarah Blake, and Rebecca Soffer.

The new exhibits build on the success of the first phase of “Dwelling” in October, which focused on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. “Dwelling” is a collaboration of Jewish arts and culture networks Reboot, Asylum Arts, LABA, the Council of American Jewish Museums, and the Jewish Book Council. The five are grantees of CANVAS, a Jewish Funders Network-incubated philanthropic collaborative dedicated to elevating the field of Jewish arts and culture. Other “Dwelling” partners include Modern Loss and Repair the World.

Photo by Sal Rodriguez, 2021
Photo by Sal Rodriguez, 2021