The Artwork of Lublin
by Ilene Winn-Lederer

Posted February 22, 2011 at 04:31 PM EST

Given my love of stories, particularly those that allow me to revisit my family history and related cultures, the opportunity to create an image for The Witches of Lublin radio play was an offer too tasty to refuse.

Like Yiddish, which is an amalgam of languages from the many lands Jews have called home, this illustration felt like a puzzle that wouldn't let me rest until I had found all the pieces. All the details required are too numerous to list here, but I can share a few.



As I read the script, the characters seemed to speak their own lines and finding their faces and costumes soon followed. Since the story is set in Poland, the gate of Lublin castle with its medieval ambience was the obvious choice for the setting, as was the antique map of Lublin. While the map supports the image, it is framed by borders of lace, an important domestic staple in Poland for centuries. Lacemaking skills were passed down through generations of women, which made the inclusion of this motif essential. Finally, the music notation collage which informs the sky is Yiddish sheet music, altogether fitting with this story of strong women who sing from their hearts.





Ilene Winn-Lederer Illustration
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The Witches of Lublin was originally commissioned by the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, through a generous donation from Arthur and Marilyn Feinberg, and premiered in a live performance version at the 2007 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music.

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