Current Projects > A Whole New Megillah

The difference between the inventions of “official nationalism” and those of other types is usually that between lies and myths. - Benedict Anderson

A Whole New Megillah is a situation-specific, performative, and interactive event annually occupying the Jewish holiday of Purim. "Where to Celebrate Purim" and "not your mother's Purim Party" by TimeOut New York.

All images from 2016 and 2017 are photographed by the incredible Georgette Maniatis unless noted otherwise.

A Whole New Megillah has taken place throughout Brooklyn, New York at Project Parlor in Bed-stuy (Inaugural, 2015), Magick City in Greenpoint (Does Amerikuh, 2016), Space Heater Gallery [n/k/a The Wick] in Bushwick (Semitic AF, 2017) and outside 770 in Crown Heights (2018).

AWNM Operation Midnight Climax was scheduled to take place March 2020 in Bushwick though was unfortunately cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Its next iteration is anticipated to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany this coming February 2021/Adar 5781....Ein Ganz Neur Megillah!

more information on the event can be found below the images.


Semite
Oil on Linen
10" x 10"
2017
Golden Shower Fountain
Papier-machie, acrylic, found objects, LED lights
2017
Knock Down The Administration!
acrylic papier-mache
2017
Knock Down The Administration!
acrylic on papier-mache
2017
The Evil Advisor
Hand-sewn felt, Embroidery, Oil on Canvas
2017
Camel Xing
Oil on Panel
8" x 8"
2017
The Advisor's Daughters Semitic AF
Felt, Oil on Canvas, Synthetic Hair
2017
The Advisor's Daughters
Hand-sewn felt, Oil on Canvas
2017
Masks
2017
Trump Pinata
Oil paint and Papier mache
2016
AWNM Does Amerikuh Invitation
Adobe Illustrator
3" x 4"
2016
Donald Trump Noisemakers
Paper Mache, Orange Frozen Wig, Rice, Wooden Dowel, Various Paper
2016
Effigy to the King (Before the Party)
Oil Paint on Cardboard and Papier-mâché
5' x 3' x 1'
2016
Coloring Book Cover
Adobe Illustrator
8.5 x 11
2016
Some Props 2015
Oil on Linen + Mixed Media
Varied
2014
Rejoice!
Oil on Canvas
24" x 34"
2015


The biblical story of Purim has no historical foundation but commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire, where a plot had been formed to destroy them. The story goes like this: The King wanted his wife Vashti to dance for his friends but she refused, which meant the King was forced to look for a new wife. Mordecai, a Jew, convinces his beautiful niece Esther to enter Persia’s Royal Beauty Contest and seduce the King into marriage, keeping her Jewish identity hidden. Meanwhile, Haman, a top advisor to the King, was infuriated by the Jew Mordecai's refusal to bow down to him. Haman was so upset that he told the King he’d like to kill all the Jews and take their land, to which the King drunkenly acquiesced. But just days before the decree, Esther risked her life to reveal her identity as a Jew to her husband, the King. She saved her people, and had Haman and his ten sons hung. The King sent a new decree that the Jews could now fight back if anyone attempted to plunder them. Esther and Mordecai recounted their epic tale in the Megillah (lit. “scroll”) of Esther. It has since become an annual tradition in the Jewish faith to get drunk beyond recognition, dress as your enemies, and retell the story of Purim in the form of a play, or spiel.

Spiels are traditionally satiric, topical, profane, humorous and make heavy use of masks. Singing and dancing involve the entire congregation and audience, not just a specified set of characters. The period in between songs is filled with improvised spoken material with a general goal to amuse, as well as educate, the audience.

Religion and invented traditions both require a continuance of narrative with a constant and complex interaction between past and present. This link is how we identify with stories and peoples that are physically and metaphorically far from us. Stories repeated enough are bound to become the only truth, and thus identities are built on conflicting narratives.