Amelia Stein: Solomon’s Children
December 1991 –
Solomon’s children is a series of images of Ethiopian Jews taken only days after 14,500 were airlifted from Addis Ababa to Israel in June 91′.Stein visited “absorption centers” in Israel shortly after their arrival. She was there to capture portraits of a simple, wilderness people about to be immersed into 20th century culture.
It seemed appropriate to attempt to capture the essence of these time travellers before they became exposed to all the visual influences of finding themselves in the middle of T.V., advertisements, newspapers and the media and before they developed a perception of themselves that would respond to being photographed.
She found gracious, calm and gentle people, with nothing other than the clothes they were wearing and their own individual beauty and composure.
This project proved difficult , both practically and morally. Getting access to the absorption centers was carefully controlled as the authorities were wary of reporters and photographers. Stein was not there to take reportage pictures. “I would head off for the absorption centre with my passes and get in or not get in. If I got in I tried to avoid the communal areas, where all the children were being given lessons or playing games, because that was where the journalists tended to congregate”. Instead, she walked the corridors and met people. Doing that day after day allowed people to get to know her. She made friends with a young woman, a nurse and midwife who spoke English. She has spoken about how friendly everyone was, how they would ” want to stop, bow, shake hands, smile, talk to you.”
She has said in regards to the above photo that she “wanted to put across the idea of one culture being carried by another”.
The Exhibition at the Gallery of Photography consisted of 23 images, 25.3 X 25.3 cm .
hand printed by the artist on Kodak Ektalure , a cream /off white paper base with warm black tones.
The exhibition is now part of the Permanent Collection of the Limerick City Gallery of Art.
Exhibited 17 July – 28 Aug 2015 , “Photography from the Permanent Collection of LCGA “, at the gallery in Limerick .
Four of the images are now in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA, Dublin
Part of the David Kronn Collection, shown in the Exhibition “Out of A Dark Room “, 2011, included in the catalogue
Archival Pigment prints ,Hahnemühle Bamboo 290 grm paper, 26.7 X26.7 cm.
About the artist: Amelia Stein, lives and works in Dublin, Ireland, where she was born in 1958, establishing herself over 30 years as a singularly exacting photographer whose work is characterized by meticulous attention to detail in tandem with the attributes of fine black and white photographic printing. As a performing arts photographer, Stein has worked in Theatre and Opera in Ireland 1979-2000. Her signature black and white photography featured widely in the Music industry. She was elected a member of the RHA in 2004, Aosdána in 2006.
Absence and the passage of time is a recurring theme is Stein’s work:
“Loss and Memory” 2002, Dedicated to the passing of her Parents, where dark and intimate still lives of small personal belongings and household items represent the loss of Family .
“The Palm House” 2002, Showing the timeworn fabric of the Great Palm house at the National Botanical Gardens, Dublin prior to its restoration .
RHA Portraits 2009 Publication, a moment in time of the Evolution of the Royal Hibernian Academy Membership , a documentation of the 50 Studios, the chairs upon which each artist performs the act of contemplation during their individual work practice, their tools and the hand of the artist .
“The BIg Sky” 2012, Absence and Migration. The vernacular buildings, abandoned houses and sheds in the rural landscape as still life objects in the vast wide open north Mayo landscape.
“Erris” 2015, Comprises of two distinct bodies of work, taken in the Wild Atlantic location of the Barony of Erris, . Wild and bleak, this landscape has challenged and shaped its inhabitants over the Millennia.
“Precipice” 2015, Just a breath of a footstep to close to the edge, between the mesmeric and pure fear at the cliff edge, the recording and interpretation of the named landscape features. Dún Chaoicháin, County Mayo.