Artist-in-Residence Maia Brown: Just Scratching the Surface

Mar 22, 2024 | Editorial

Details about 2024 Artist in Resident, Maia Brown’s Scratch Night

Each season, Town Hall’s Residency program offers local Artists or Scholars a paid opportunity to nourish their creative disciplines engage with Town Hall programs, and collaborate with our programming team to develop original events for the community.

Maia Brown, our 2024 Artist-in-Residence, is a visual artist, Yiddish musician, writer, translator, and educator, who brings a wealth of experience and passion to our community. With a background in oral history and fine art, Maia is deeply committed to exploring how we navigate diaspora rooted in our diverse heritages. Her work — animated by themes of memory, storytelling, and cultural resilience — reflects a profound understanding of the complexities of Yiddish history and identity.

Maia’s upcoming Scratch Night on April 13 will feature a stirring blend of storytelling and music, in collaboration with her bandmate Stefanie Brendler. Echoing the resilience and resistance found within Yiddish tradition. Further, Maia will explore past and present resistance through her own work and an accompanying exhibition of drawings and paintings created by Gazan children.
 Early childhood educator Wejdan Diab, founder and director of Meera Kindergarten in Gaza City collected the artwork from displaced children living in tents in Rafah, in the south of Gaza. Also displaced to Rafah, Wejdan supplied the children with whatever art supplies she could source, as well as offering organized sports and teaching songs, before her eventual evacuation to Egypt in January.

Children from 4 to 14 began to paint. They wanted to draw their homes their homes when they were beautiful and their homes when they were destroyed they wanted to paint what they were experiencing. Most of the children were living in tents after their homes were destroyed by Israeli military air strikes, including eight siblings whose parents were killed. In Diab’s words: “I would begin with 10 children, and soon there were 100 coming from all directions.”

All drawings displayed were given to Diab with the request to “send it to America.” When given the choice to keep their art or share their work, they were adamant that their testimonies should travel even if they could not. Thanks to local Yiddishist, D’vorah Kost, the drawings have traveled from Cairo to Seattle.

“We live in the fifth month of the war…My foot broked (sic) because of the damaged stairs. We live in a bombed neighborhood. I feel afraid. My heart beating when bomb falling. I feel stressed and I tremble when the bombs fall and explode.” – — Joury Diab, age 7 (Joury and her mother, sister and two brothers were able to evacuate to Egypt in late February)

Donations will be collected at the exhibition for displaced children recently evacuated to Egypt.

Read more about Maia’s upcoming Scratch Night and get your tickets here.

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