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Visiting artist Silvina Frydlewsky talks to students in a documentary photography class about their work.
Silvina Frydlewsky, whose work showcases life in her native Argentina
with a special focus on the Jewish community there, said she sees
herself as both a witness and a participant.
“She is at once an insider and outsider, an observer and a critic,”
according to the poster that introduces an exhibit of her work at the
University of Delaware, where she was recently a visiting
artist-in-residence. “These images reveal a cross-section of Argentina
today, embedding the viewer in a dynamic and complex people and
The exhibit of photographs, curated by Priscilla Smith, associate
professor of art and design, is now on view in the atrium of UD’s Tower
at STAR, where it will remain through March.
Earlier this semester, Frydlewsky brought her perspective as a
journalist whose own life is rooted in the culture of Argentina and its
Jewish community to UD as part of the International Artist in Residence
program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
She spent four weeks sharing her work and her experiences with
students and with the broader UD and Delaware communities, visiting a
variety of classes on campus and exhibiting her work at the Siegel
Jewish Community Center (JCC) near Wilmington.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
UD student Jack Fitzharris speaks with Silvina Frydlewsky and his classmates about
photos he took at a local high school for a project documenting a day in
the working life of a high school principal.
“Each day I’ve been here has been something special,” Frydlewsky said
at the end of her residency. “I really feel honored if I can show
people the stories — and the faces — of my country and my community.”
She especially enjoyed visiting UD classes, she said, discussing work
done by photography students and sharing her insights with those in
classes such as women and gender studies, Jewish studies and Latin
“Communities connect all over the world,” she said. “And I find that
people have the same kinds of stories about their families, their
cultures and their history.
“Anything I can say to help anybody understand the other side of the world is valuable.”
The international artist program has that same kind of focus, said
Colin Miller, director of global arts and faculty director of the
African Studies Program at UD.
“My approach is to emphasize interdisciplinary engagement,” Miller
said. “Instead of having a visiting artist come to campus, do one talk
or one program and then leave, I wanted to include more interactions and
more collaboration with different departments and colleges and the
“Silvina was a great choice for the program because she was eager to work with anyone who wanted to connect.”
Photojournalist Silvina Frydlewsky’s work includes photos of Jewish gauchos and farmworkers in a rural Argentine community, where the population is aging as younger members move to cities.
Frydlewsky had worked in the past with Cynthia Schmidt-Cruz,
associate professor of languages, literatures and cultures and director
of the Center for Global and Area Studies, who suggested her to Miller
for the artist-in-residence program.
In addition to that program of global arts, her talks and exhibits in
Delaware were supported by the English Language Institute, Center for
Global and Area Studies, College of Arts and Sciences and the Frank and
Yetta Chaiken Center for Jewish Studies at UD, the Jewish Community
Relations Committee of Delaware and ArtSpace at Siegel JCC.
Although her residency has ended, the exhibition of her work at
the Tower at STAR atrium on the University’s STAR campus, is open to the
public. The works there span much of her work as a photojournalist,
covering such topics as Argentine arts and culture, politics and
protest, shantytowns and the rural province of Entre Rios.
A particular focus is “The Last Jewish Gaucho,” images of the life of
the late Jaime Jruz, who worked the land in his Entre Rios village, a
community founded by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 1890s.
The project began as a feature story in collaboration with the Washington Post; Frydlewsky later returned on her own to continue her profile of Jruz and of the vanishing lifestyle of Jewish gauchos.
The Global Arts program, which has brought visual artists, musicians,
dancers and storytellers from around the world to UD and the nearby
community in recent years, plans to continue next academic year with
artists visiting during fall and spring semesters.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Evan Krape and courtesy of Silvina Frydlewsky