Art Midrash Projects
Art Midrash can be a great way to explore what the story of Exodus from Egypt means to us. It’s perfect for children and adults. Below, you will find directions for art Midrash projects and three suggestions for subject matter.
Directions for Art Midrash Projects
Midrash involves the process of uncovering new meaning in familiar texts or concepts. Here you can use a simple art project to explore what particular ideas or passages from the Haggadah mean to your Seder participants. Try this before your Seder begins. Distribute sheets of colored paper and glue sticks to each of your guests. Some scissors would be helpful, but are not necessary.
Read aloud the particular passage that will serve as the basis for your art Midrash project. Ask everyone to spend about twenty minutes making a collage that expresses something important to him or her about an idea the passage raises.
Explain that the collages can be representational or completely abstract, using shape and color to express feelings of or about one of the transitions. When you have finished, ask a few of your guests to hold up their collages, one at a time. Ask others to make a brief comment on what they think the collage may be saying. Then ask the creator of the collage to explain what he or she had in mind. Remember, the goal of this art Midrash project is to explore our ideas, not to see who is the best artist.
Those interested in learning more about this approach may want to look at Jo Milgrom’s Handmade Midrash (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1992).
I. "Now We Are Slaves"
A line toward the beginning of the Haggadah says, "Now we are slaves."
Ask your guests to make a collage expressing what this means to them.
Here's an example:
II. Passover, Freedom, and Spring
Ask your guests to participate in an art Midrash project by creating a collage that expresses the relationships among Passover, freedom, and spring.
III. “Begin with Disgrace and End with Praise”
Create an art Midrash project based on the Mishnah’s instructions that when telling the story of the Exodus at the Seder, you should “begin with disgrace and end with praise.” Explain that the Mishnah is a collection of teachings and a law compiled about 1,800 years ago. It contains the oldest directions for a Passover Seder as we have come to know it. Also mention that the transition from disgrace to praise recurs throughout the Haggadah. Ask each of your guests to make a collage that illustrates their feelings and ideas about beginning with disgrace and ending with praise.
A few years ago, I really got into Art Midrash and made this collage: