Jewish Immigration to New Zealand Iconised

January 17, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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A mural depicting Jewish immigration to New Zealand has been painted on the façade of a Jewish community building in Wellington…a fund-raising gesture from two European artists to help the fight to maintain Shechita in New Zealand.




The finished mural



Gabriel Heimler is well-known for the mural he painted on the Berlin Wall and “The Open Sea Path” is the second one he has completed since moving to New Zealand on a visitor’s visa.

Anna Proc, Dan Potts and Gabriel Heimler

Fellow artist Anna Proc and Wellington Hebrew Congregation Board member Dan Potts painted the mural on the Upper Cuba St building housing the local Moadon youth group rooms with Heimler.

David Zwartz, Chariman of the Wellington Regional Jewish Council told J-Wire: “Contributors making a financial contribution should be aware that the money will not go to the artists…it is earmarked for the Shechita Legal Fund. New Zealand is currently fighting a ban on the Kosher slaughtering of meat in New Zealand.

The painting depicts feet shown walking alongside native New Zealand plants and bears the Souther Cross constellation and the Star of David. Financial contributors will have their names added to the mural.

Heimler said that it is not only one mural…it is a complete art object.

Wellington streets feature murals depicting Maoris’ and Europeans’ arrivals in the country.  “The Open Sea Path” is situated in one of the most popular streets in the city. Proc told J-Wire: “We came to New Zealand to create and painted the other two murals opposite the Te Papa Museum. The recent problem involving the banning of Shechita inspired us to paint “The Open Sea Path” as a solidarity and financial support action towards New Zealand Jews. It matches with Gabriel’s and my engagement. About 20 years ago (after the Rostock pogrom) Gabriel created the first after the Shoa artistic and political Jewish group in Berlin as an answer against neo-fascist tendencies.”

She added that the mural was not commissioned. “It was for us a mitzvah. When we work for Jewish rights, we do not expect any financial gain.”

Proc and Heimler and are both Jewish. They lived in Berlin. Proc is Polish and Heimler is French Hungarian.

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