We are starting the week with a small online exhibit of colorful paper cuts by Warsaw-based Danuta Petruczenko. Almost all of them are based on present-day reconstructions of the intricate painted decoration found in historic synagogues, most of them in Poland.
Petruczenko is a student of the artist Monika Krajewska, whose paper cut series “Burning” we featured in a “Have Your Say” online exhibit to mark Yom haShoah in April.
Danuta Petruczenko is a discovery. And, as she says, Jewish papercutting for her was a discovery. Three years ago, she joined the “Third Age University” at the Yiddish Culture Center run by Fundacja Shalom in Warsaw, and joined my workshops of Jewish papercuts. Before that, she had never tried her hand in art; her contact with Jewish tradition had been through popular literature. Out of the many sources of Jewish symbols and texts presented as sources of inspiration during the workshops, Danuta chose the painted decoration of synagogues as her long-term project. She has represented in paper, cut and painted with crayons, the aronot ha-kodesh, bimahs or vaults of a number of synagogues, both masonry and wooden, both those that survived and were renovated since the war and those that were reconstructed in museums (Chodorov). She has not only mastered papercutting combined with elements of collage, but also keeps expanding her knowledge of Jewish symbols and synagogue art. Her works have been presented at exhibitions in the Yiddish Culture Center and a public library in Warsaw. Needless to say, the skill and patience required to complete each piece is remarkable.
The paper cuts we feature here formed part of an exhibition held by Petruczenko in Warsaw in late February/early March.