July 1, 2004
Kershaw Museum Plans Ethiopian Show
Timed to coincide with the Bowers Museum's "Queen of Sheba" exhibit, the Kershaw Museum at Temple Beth El is organizing its own sampler exhibit of artworks by Jewish Ethiopians and Yemenites, who believe themselves to be the queen's descendants.
The museum is seeking to borrow examples of Ethiopian and Yemenite art or artifacts from local collectors for possible exhibition, beginning Oct. 14. Descriptions and photos of the items should be submitted before Aug. 1 to Irene Breisacher, a volunteer at the Aliso Viejo synagogue, who is helping organize the exhibit.
"A lot of people went to Israel when the country was new and bought Yemenite art, but they didn't tell you it was Yemenite," said the museum's director and founder, Norma Kershaw. "Ancient or modern, whatever people have" would be welcomed.
Typical works are silver Bible covers with fine filigree work. Ethiopian folk art is evident throughout Israel, produced by resettled Ethiopian Jews, who fled religious persecution and deteriorating economic conditions in their homeland en mass beginning in 1984.
Kershaw, who previously created exhibits on Chanukah and Israeli art with examples borrowed locally, hopes to fill three exhibit cases with at least 100 items. One person has offered Ethiopian costumes.
The exhibit's logo is likely to be a pillow cover featuring King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, which Kershaw obtained recently in Los Angeles from an importer promoting modern folk art by Ethiopian Israelis.
The Bowers' Sheba exhibit will open Oct. 17 and will feature 100 treasures, some from the first century, chosen from the vast collections of the British Museum.
As part of an archeology trip to Yemen in 1985, Kershaw said she looked without success for scientific evidence to support the biblical legend. According to legend, Sheba ruled an ancient kingdom that prospered as a trading crossroads between Jerusalem and the Roman Empire; she was seduced and married to King Solomon around 950 B.C.E.
Potential lenders should contact Irene Briesacher at (949) 837-1005 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org before Aug. 1.