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Dutch-born Yona Verwer is a multidisciplinary visual artist and curator, living and working in New York City. Her creative practice explores heritage, immigration, tikkun olam, ecology and kabbalah.
Verwer holds a master’s degree in fine art from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, the Netherlands, and has shown in over 25 museum exhibitions, as well as many galleries, nationally and internationally. She is the founding director of the Jewish Art Salon.
Verwer’s work has been recognized internationally through exhibitions at the Jerusalem Biennale, Yeshiva University Museum, Andy Warhol Factory, Ein Harod Museum, the Bronx Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, Mizel Museum, Reginald Lewis Museum of African-American Art, Stanback Museum, Canton Museum of Art, and the Holocaust Memorial Center.
She has been published in 4 languages, including the New York Times by William Zimmer, The New Yorker by Boris Fishman, Art Criticism by Matthew Baigell, Ars Judaica, The Huffington Post, NRC Handelsblad, The Daily News, The Forward, The Jewish Week, and Sh’ma Journal. Verwer is [also] featured in Ori Soltes’ Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture.
Furthermore, Verwer has lectured at The Jewish Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, and the JCC Manhattan. More recently she is the co-founder and director of the Jewish Art Salon
In addition she is doing interactive, collaborative works incorporating Augmented Reality. These works consist of digital painting collage and acrylic paint on canvas, with Augmented Reality. Using an iPad or smart-phone, the viewer triggers videos embedded in the artwork, embarking on a discovery process that leads the viewer closer to experiencing the themes of the work.
With artist Katarzyna Kozera she is collaborating on the series “The Book of Yona”, which weaves together their stories as immigrants with the biblical story of Yona’s namesake Jonah (Yona): the biblical prophet who fled his homeland and was swallowed by a whale in a terrible storm.
These works echo the artists’ own journeys both from Europe to New York and from Catholicism to Judaism. Conversion requires ritual immersion, a submersion of the body into a pool of water in order to symbolize a “change of soul”. The water thus symbolizes birth as a Jew.
Their series “Umim & Tumim” addresses the current situation in the Mid-East and kabbalah.
With artist Cynthia Beth Rubin their series “History, Heritage and the Lower East Side” blends the stories of the past and the present in layers of paint, photographs, video, recordings, and music. Working with Jewish architecture from throughout the world, their work evokes the traces of melded histories.
Recent & upcoming exhibitions
JTS, NYC, Genesis: The Beginning of Creativity, Curators; Joel Silverstein, Richard McBee, Abigail Myers, Goldie Gross, Susan Maishlish.
Bernard Heller Museum, NYC. One Nation, Curator Phyllis Freedman.
Bernard Heller Museum, NYC. Tzedek Box, Curator Nancy Mantell.
Goodman Family Museum, West Bloomfield, MI: Holy Sparks: Celebrating 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate.
Margolis Gallery, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston TX: Holy Sparks: Celebrating 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate.
Stanton St. Projects, NYC, Together Again
Jada Art Fair, Miami Art Week
Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC., Samaritans: Ancient and Modern, Curator Steven Fine, Assistant Curators Jesse Abelman and David Selis.
81 Leonard Gallery, New York, NY, PAUSE: Jewish Heritage Month-Ways of Being, Curators Hannah Rothbard and Goldie Gross.
Y.U. Museum, NYC. Jewish Artists Encounter Samaritan Culture, Curator Steven Fine.
Bernard Heller Museum, NYC, Holy Sparks: Celebrating 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate. Curators Jean Bloch Rosensaft & Ronda Spinak.
Skirball Museum, Cincinnati, Holy Sparks: 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate.
Koslowe Gallery, Mamaroneck, NY, Mayim Chaiyim: A Watershed, Curator Amy Levine-Kennedy.
Selected solo and two-person exhibits
2020 Origins + Journeys, juried online exhibition organized by ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts, Collaboration with Cynthia Beth Rubin and Kris Tonski.
2018 Echoes: European Anti-Semitism Then and Now, Y.U. Museum – Education Showcase,New York, NY. Collaborative exhibit with Katarzyna Kozera; sounds by Alon Nechushtan and Dan Schwarz; video by Francesca Giovanetti.
2016 ARt, ARchitecture & AR, Art Kibbutz, Governors Island, NY. 2-Person exhibit with Cynthia Beth Rubin.
2016 Meditations on Place, Koslowe Gallery, Mamaroneck, NY, curated by Amy Levine-Kennedy. 2-Person exhibit with Cynthia Beth Rubin.
2015 Hidden Links: Exploring Jewish Identity, The Temple, Denver, CO, curated by the Mizel Museum, Denver.
2015 Hidden Links: Exploring Jewish Identity, The Work of Yona Verwer and Cynthia Beth Rubin, Evergreen Arts Center, Evergreen CO, in conjunction with the Mizel Museum, Denver, CO.
City Charms, 2013, Tribeca Synagogue for the Arts, New York, NY;
Urim & Tumim, 2012 Center for Jewish Arts & Literacy, New York, NY.
Selected group exhibitions
Art at First, New York, NY, Save the Earth. Curators Barbra Sherman and Fran Beallor, 2020.
i am. an immigrant, Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin, Germany. Curator Dorit Jordan Dotan, 2020
JADA Art Fair, 1250 Normandy Drive, Miami Beach, FL. Curated by Jonatas Chimen, 2019.
Art Stations of the Cross, Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Curators Marleen Hengelaar, Anikó Ouweneel. Collaboration with Katarzyna Kozera; sounds by Alon Nechushtan, and Dan Schwartz; video-editing by Francesca Giovanetti, 2019.
Spinoza: Marrano of Reason, at the Amstelkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2019; Art Stations of the Cross at the Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2019;
Invisible Jew, at the Detour Gallery, Red Bank, 2018, Jerusalem Between Heaven and Earth, at the Derfner Museum, 2018, and the Jerusalem Biennale 2017;
New York / New Work: Contemporary Art From NYC at the Jerusalem Biennale 2015, and at the Mishkan Museum of Art, Ein Harod; All Together Different at the Educational Alliance, NYC;
It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond at the Yeshiva University Museum, NYC, 2012-13;
The Dura Europos Project, 2011, Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art;
4000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks, 2012-16, Mizel Museum, Denver, CO;
Transcending History: Moving Beyond the Legacy of Slavery and Holocaust, 2010, Reginald Lewis Museum of African-American Art,
Sacred Voices, 2014, Canton Museum of Art;
Silent Witnesses: Synagogues Transformed, Rebuilt or Abandoned, 2012, the Holocaust Memorial Center, Metro Detroit.
Yverwer (at)gmail (dot) com