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Nolie Marie Wilson is so excited to announce their participation in the 2022-2023 roster at ORA Northwest Jewish Artists Collective! Stay tuned for more information on upcoming exhibitions.
Nolie’s story often seems fractured, to those who are accustomed to thinking of spirituality or ethnicity as “all or nothing,” pick one or the other. But Judaism has been the central identity of Nolie’s heritage and world, and it is integral to Nolie’s practice that they support other Jewish artists, as well as building a substantial amount of their practice around Jewish themes in their art. Nolie grew up having to look for histories of paganism, and resistance to conversion, or oppression even within Christian culture to navigate their own existence within their Interfaith family, as someone who “seemed” Christian, but was decidedly not. They seek to create art that offers insight and balance to other Interfaith families, who are often excluded by both cultural and/or religious communities, seen as not fully belonging to either, despite having legitimate claims to belonging to both, and experiencing both halves of their heritage as just as real.
The need for this sort of perspective and art has grown all the more pressing as Christian Nationalism has grown more pervasive, at times resulting in non-Christians doubling down on their own exclusionary traits, to protect themselves from Christians seeking to infiltrate or assault non-Christians’ communities, and at times from non-Christians’ own exclusionary ideas about who is allowed to be non-Christian (Ie, all Jews are Ashkenazi, or white, and thus there is no such thing as a Jew of Color, according to stereotype–a decidedly false stereotype given the abundance of Jews of Color worldwide, and even in many American synagogues. and the confirmation bias playing out in that stereotype given the number of Jews of Color who avoid synagogues due to issues not experienced by white-passing Jews, such as outsized police presence as security being experienced as unsafe, harassment from white Jews about why they are there, rather than the assumption being they are there because they are a member of the Jewish community, etc). Having faced their own exclusion, Nolie seeks to provide support to others facing exclusion, and believes participation in organizations such as ORA is an integral step to making the Jewish community more welcoming to “non-typical” Jewish families, and Jewish individuals, whatever their backgrounds may be.
Mazel tov! Here’s to many uplifting collaborations, inspiring art shows, and joyous community events with the talented artists at ORA!