Up Close With Susan Dessel’s “Still Lives”

There's a fascinating exhibit, particularly relevant to the Lower East Side, currently showing at the Culpeper Gallery in the Abrons Arts Center (extended to run at least through this Sunday, Nov. 8th).  "Still Lives", by artist Susan Dessel, was inspired by the first Jewish women who arrived here as refugees beginning in the 1650's (in what was then New Amsterdam).  Ms. Dessel became intrigued by these women after working on a restoration project in the Hunt's Bay Cemetery in Jamaica; the oldest cemetery still existing in this part of the world. She then went about researching the women in the Chatham Square Cemetery; the oldest in New York.  Susan delved in to the history of the women throughout several generations, as they established the first Jewish community in New York. Along the way, she discovered some intriguing things about their everyday lives. Here's an in-depth look at her work and the process she went through to create "Still Lives".

Photos of the cemeteries were provided by the artist.  A special thanks goes out to Jeremy Manasia, who provided the music for this video.