I PRAY WITH MY FEET (TRIPTYCH), 2014
This tryptich is dedicated to the memory of Marshall Meyer.
It was shown for the first time, then without inscriptions, in 2002, in the National Museum of Civil Rights, dedicated to the Memory of Martin Luther King in the same location in which he was murdered in Memphis, Tenessee.
Marshall Meyer was a New York Rabbi, who lived in Argentina for 30 years.
There he was the founder of the Bet El congregation in Buenos Aires and he helped to renew the Jewish life in Latin America. During his activity in Argentina, Marshall Meyer knew about the kidnappings of the Military Junta and he was one of the few people that spoke openly about the disappeared ( “Desaparecidos”) at the time. He received the families of the dissapeared, he conforted them and did all he could to ask the authorities about the missing son, father or brother. He spoke loud about the missing, asked for them, visited the people that were in prison, spoke to his congregation and to the media about what was going on. At that time, Meyer founded the Jewish Movement for Human Rights with Herman Schiller and other activists.
When the dictatorship was over, Marshall Meyer was the only foreign person to be honoured by an invitation to become a member of the CONADEP (National Commission About the Dissapearence of People), whose President was Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato.
The tryptich has three images.
The first image is one of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, in Alabama, to claim for the voting rights of the African Americans in the South. This campaign intended to increase the registration of African American voters so they coudd exercise their voting rights and become politically more influential. This was a seminal series of events in the inception of the American movement for Civil Rights.
In this images, we can see Martin Luther King in the center, accompanied by other Human Rights militants of the time, some of them described in the work. One of them is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, an American Rabbi of Polish origin. Heschel was a close friend of King, and it was after this march that he pronounced his famous phrase “When I march together with Reverend King I feel that I pray with my feet”.
In the second image, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is teaching his ideas to his disciple Rabbi Marshall Meyer. They are studying in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Harlem, New York. Heschel taught Meyer his vision of religion, in which he thought there should be a combination of the Bible and the religious teachings with current events and the reality of contemporary people.
In the third image, Rabbi Marshall Meyer is hosting a public event of the Jewish Movement for Human Rights in downtown Buenos Aires in 1984, a few months after the fall of the dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). The event remembers the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto. In the picture, several Argentine Human Rights activists express their support to Meyer`s discourse for justice, freedom in Argentina. The Jewish Movement for Human Rights was a very active organization claiming for the whereabouts of the missing, kidnapped by the military junta secret services during the dictatorship. It incorporated the voice of the parents of some of the 2.000 Jews that were among the disappeared.
The close connection of Reb Luther King with Heschel, mentor of Meyer, show a direct line between the Civil Rights movement of the United States of America and the Movement for Human Rights in Argentina.