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Shofar-Jesu is a series of about forty small-scale black, blue, and red ink wash paintings on Arches paper. The paintings were inspired by an old Bible with engravings of scenes from the Old and New Testaments. I appropriated various images with a focus on creating figurative motifs in a state of motion: a floating figure, the stoning of a man by another man, a lone figure sounding a battle cry on the shofar, a mother and child running. In one work, a mound of earth resembles the Tower of Babel, with figures fleeing some impending doom. The images come from the books of Malachi, Ruth, Exodus, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, along with some from the Gospels of Matthew and John.

This series started at the beginning of the pandemic and continued through 2023. It depicts the arc of history as a cyclical one, in which the past repeats itself. Although the subject matter is dark and heavy, the works themselves have a lightness and at times a naïve, childlike quality. Conceptually, I consider the finished series to be one continuous work that, when exhibited, will be shown in a running line the length of an entire gallery space.

Ed Fraga. From the series Shofar-Jesu, 2020–23. India ink on Arches paper. Approximately 7 x 14 inches.




Ed Fraga is a Detroit artist whose paintings and drawings are in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Cranbrook Art Museum. He is a recipient of an Awards in the Visual Arts 8 and an Arts Midwest NEA grant.





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