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2,340 Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
Jan 27, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
an exercise in empathy with mother by Jessica Olah
Brooklyn-based artist Jessica Olah is going to make 2,340 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during the last week of January.
The project was born of a desire to empathize with the work her mother did in raising her – specifically the sandwiches she made Jessica for every day of her career in grade school from 1990 to 2004.
Sometimes the most confounding part about acts of love is that the person who performs them with the best of intentions may actually be hurting us. Jessica has thought a lot about the time her mother dedicated to make sandwiches for her – out of love – without realizing that those same sandwiches were not healthy for her to be eating every day. “This all came about because I realized she showed that she loved me so much, but because she is human, she couldn’t love me perfectly…I chose the word ’empathy’ to describe this project because I feel that’s what I need in order to fully appreciate and let go of the fact that she didn’t completely know what she was doing as a parent, but she did it with good intentions.”
Motherhood is a complex and unpredictable venture. Jessica believes that until she has children of her own to care for, she won’t be able to understand all that goes into it. This project is an attempt to experience just one small part of what went into raising her. By performing this piece Jessica also hopes to create a tribute to her mother’s dedication by sharing her art on the same subject. Her mother is a photographer, and Jessica has enlarged prints of her mom’s own PB&J-making process to surround her and those who visit the gallery.
Specials On C (located on the corner of Avenue C and 12th St.) will be home to Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Forty Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches. The gallery describes itself as a, “community bodega for creative expression,” and has the perfect casual, ‘come and hang out’ feel for a performance piece like this. Below are the dates and times you can watch Jessica spread yummy things on bread.
Wednesday, Jan 27: 10am – 6pm
Thursday, Jan 28: 10am – 6pm
Friday, Jan 29: 10am – 6pm
Saturday, Jan 30: 12pm – 8pm
Sunday, Jan 31: 12pm – 8pm
At the end of each day, the sandwiches will be donated to the Bowery Mission. Jessica says, “I want to be careful to not purport this as a project that is aiming to support the homeless. I really want to share the sandwiches with them, but I this project is more about the meditation on what my mother did over a long period of time for me.”
Perhaps in viewing this work, we can find something to be grateful to our mothers for, even though we know they aren’t perfect.