Reflections on LABA artist Tal Beery’s “in the absence of a proper mourning”
by Ronit Muszkatblit
In The Absence of a Proper Mourning is an outdoor audio visual installation that will be shown at The Jewish Museum of Maryland by LABA artist Tal Beery. This piece is a part of Dwelling in The Time of Plagues, a Jewish creative response to real-world plagues of our time, generously supported by CANVAS, a Jewish funders network.
Beery took the huge responsibility to respond to the most obvious, heavy plague of our time: COVID.
Rebecca Soffer writes, “More than half a million souls have died in the United States alone, sparking a grief pandemic suffered by at least five million grievers from Covid-19 deaths alone (a theory called the bereavement multiplier suggests that for every death from this virus, an average of nine people are directly affected by long-lasting emotional, health and financial consequences). Then think about all the other millions of grievers mourning deaths from any other causes. Millions of people who have had to say their goodbyes through screens — if any were able to be said at all.”
Beery interviewed 8 people from the Baltimore area who lost loved ones to COVID and needed to say goodbyes under the constraints of social distancing. He captures the raw, harsh reality of this “plague” and invites the viewer to empathize and grapple with the enormity of this pandemic, the real ways it has altered human lives, and offers a way for these survivors, who were robbed proper mourning of their loved ones, to share their stories.
Sofer continues, “Those who listen to these stories will surely gain an enormous appreciation and empathy for the excruciating grief of these survivors. But now consider the fact that one person absorbed all 300 minutes of those stories. What about his experience?”
In her full article in The Importance of Witnesses in Times of Grief , written for the Jewish Book Council, Rebecca Sofer shares with us her long text communication with Beery as he goes through the process of interviewing these mourners, and offers us a first hand view of an artist’s experience, thought process and the emotional weight he carries.
Be sure to join us for the virtual opening event on Thursday April 1st here
Read the full article by Rebecca Soffer here