Tikkun Olam is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world," or "healing and restoring" the world. Some of the ways to achieve tikkun olam are through engaging in individual and community-centered religious commitments and working toward the attainment of a better world through social justice and social action works.
Many artists are addressing the theme of Tikkun Olam in their works. Some recent and noteworthy tikkun olam focused art initiatives include a project and exhibit that culminated in 2011 and was organized by artist Christy Honigman at the Mizel Museum in Denver----"54 participants from 27 countries who participated in a project "to represent the universal nature of Tikkun Olam, and the inherent connection between art, healing and transformation. The participants, many of whom are survivors of torture and exile, share their personal expressions to in the project, and in the process of its creation have experienced the power of art to heal and transform." http://mizelmuseum.org/tikkun-olam/
Prof. Matthew Baigall in his recent article "Social Concern and Tikkun Olam in Jewish American Art" (Ars Judaica, v. 8, April 2012) discusses how contemporary artists are addressing Tikkun Olam in their work.
One of the artists discussed in Yona Verwer, a Dutch-New York based artist, (http://yonaverwer.com) whose art explores identity, current events, and tikkun olam. In one of her series titled City Charms, she created and then photographed what she describes as "protection devices" and placed them at various well-known American architectural landmarks. Other fabulous, inspiring, beautiful and poetic works can be found at the Tikkun Daily, an online blog with an art gallery, found at http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/art-gallery/.
This holiday season of teshuva calls for our attention to attend to the personal, community and global events that we can no longer ignore and to explore the question: How can we embrace tikkun olam within our professional, educational, and artistic practices?
Art pictured at right is Teshuva, by Sheri Klein, oil and pastel on paper.