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Het Nieuwe Domein, Sittard
February 3 - June 30, 2024


At first glance, a cemetery and a museum seem to have little in common. Yet they both give meaning to the artworks Joseph Sassoon Semah presents in the exhibition. He takes the visitor on a wonderful journey of exploration from King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, through Baghdad's lost public space, the waiting room of his grandfather Sassoon Kadoori (1886-1971), the chief rabbi of Baghdad, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, to spatial architecture based on the Talmud Bavli.


Simultaneously, he explores his personal Galut (diaspora)—the complex identity being created in Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Amsterdam. The exhibition title alludes to life in exile ('Galut') with no motherland and physical cultural heritage to return to (personal graveyard), as well to the museum, which has erased the knowledge of the Jewish layers of imagery/meaning in Western artworks (universal graveyard). Each of Sassoon Semah's artworks in Het Nieuwe Domein serves as a witness to the profound loss, and at the same time reclaiming the lost world and making Jewish culture, symbols, tradition, and identity visible in a different cultural environment.

He demands recognition and acknowledgement for the lost knowledge of Judaism and thus liberates himself from his dis-placement. This is the ultimate task of Joseph Sassoon Semah, to be ‘The Guardians of the Door of the Museum’ and by that the artworld.

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