Acrylic, acrylic medium and paper on plywood

"'Witness' layers meaning upon meaning in ways that swirl together into an assailing and disorienting emotional impact. I see in it the quotidian, ostensibly trivial, forms that antisemitism takes as it quietly works its way into collective and hitherto safe value systems, until suddenly it appears as a formidable fact of the thinking of the people, and then the institutions, around us." David Hirsh, expert in antisemitism, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and founder of the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Nearly three metres tall, this work stands as witness to an ancient hatred morphing into a modern intolerance. While its intention is to encourage deeper thinking and conversation, its scale speaks of the epic nature of the challenge. The first in a series on antisemitism, its message is both personal and universal.

Viewed close-up, the tiny pieces collaged into the painting are disturbing. Sourced largely from social media, they contain examples of every kind of antisemitism defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), both historical and contemporary.

The societal and collaborative quality of the piece is reflected in its very construction. The source material was contributed by various people of all faiths and political persuasions, and a space for the artwork to be completed was found via the passionate efforts of an interfaith, and hitherto unconnected, group of people in Bristol and Bath.

In order to address prejudice, I believe that it is first necessary to face it with courage: we must start by looking in the mirror, as imperfect human beings called to do continuous and active work. Denial is our enemy, and I hope to encourage the viewer to confront that enemy head on.

Events and media:

- Feature on Witness in the Jewish Chronicle, November 2020.

- A detail from Witness features on the cover of the recently published book The Rebirth of Antisemitism in the 21st Century, edited by David Hirsh.

- Presentation of Witness at the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, 22nd October 2023.

- 2nd Prize Winner of the Emma Lazarus Art Award 2020.

- Witness was shown on 11th November 2019 at JW3, London at the event: ANTISEMITISM: FROM RECENT PAST TO UNKNOWN FUTURE, marking the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht.

- Talk on misogyny and antisemitism for the 2020 International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH) conference featuring Witness.

A short film about Witness