… and he taught the canaries to sing

July 10, 2022

On Sunday, 10th July 2022, Melbourne’s Beth Weizmann Jewish Community was the venue for a dynamic and vibrant afternoon of animations and music celebrating the diversity of Polish Jewish life before 1939.

The project, conceived and produced by the ASPJ’s Vice-President Estelle Rozinski (pic left), entitled “…and he taught the canaries to sing” received seed funding from the Republic of Poland Consulate in Sydney. The result was a celebratory fusion of story-telling, art and music created by renowned Australian artists, David Asher Brook, Steven Durbach (aka Sid Sledge) and Anita Lester.

Through a child’s lens, these vignettes provide a doorway to stories, which convey the fun and poignancy of everyday life. Estelle Rozinski suggests that the animations “challenge some of the preconceived ideas people have about the way in which our Jewish families lived’. She believes that it is stories, such as those illustrated through the animations, that drive our curiosity, leaving us wanting to know more about the shape and texture of everyday life in pre-war Poland.

The event provided something for everyone.

The warmth and familiarity of Yiddish songs, performed by Elisa Gray, accompanied on the piano by Irene Kalinski, transported the audience to another time. The visual beauty of the animations, created by the three artists, engaged the audience. For those enthralled by process, the Q&A with Estelle Rozinski and artist Steven Durbach provided significant insight into the creative journey of an artist, working at the interface of science and art.

Frances Prince’s skilful “in conversation” framed Estelle Rozinski’s intent and focus, and brought some clarity to the “why”, the “how”, and the “where to from here” of the project.

Click below to watch video highlights of the event: