Elke Reva Sudin, a former student at the Hebrew High School of New England in West Hartford, was named recently one of “36 Under 36” by the Jewish Week.
The honorable distinction, bestowed annually by the New York Jewish newspaper, is intended to spotlight “a new crop of three dozen forward-thinking young people who are helping reshape the Jewish community.
“They’re revitalizing established Jewish organizations by launching new models of young leadership programs,” notes the newspaper, “empowering micro-entrepreneurs here and in Israel, fostering new forms of spirituality, and raising our eco-consciousness.”
Sudin, a former student at Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA) in Longmeadow, Mass., where she grew up, was chosen for her role in “revitalizing the Jewish art salon.”
Sudin’s work combines elements from both urban culture and her own Jewish culture.
In the artist’s statement on her website, Sudin says, “My paintings are representations of man-made environments in a world designed by a higher power. Just as G-d created us in his own image, so too I seek to be a filter to translate the architecture and people around me into my own scenarios, to unify that which is seemingly broken.”
Sudin created “Hipsters and Hassids,” an exhibit about the two dominant factions in Williamsburg, N.Y. and co-curated the “Generation D: Identities” exhibit at the Flomenhaft Gallery in Chelsea. She is artistic director of PresenTense magazine, and she and her husband, Saul Sudin, founded the website “JewishArtNow” and SUDINmagazine.
Sudin’s artwork was recently on display at LYA’s annual dinner and an exhibit of her work will be on display at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford this coming winter.
Sudin, who is the daughter of Carol and Richard Engelson of Longmeadow, Mass., says that she was always artistic. “You can’t hide from being an artist,” she laughed.
When she was in middle school, she began taking an oil painting class at the Springfield Jewish Community Center “That was sort of my introduction,” she recalled. She later worked with a private oil painting teacher in Longmeadow, who helped teach Sudin to be more “creative and inventive.”
In high school, she met a classmate who wanted to be an illustrator. “I had no concept of that, that you could ‘do art, ‘coming from a religious school, it is not an option…but at that time she was very encouraging and inspirational.”
She eventually left HHNE to go to Longmeadow High School to work on her art portfolio. She took college level courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, and later pursued her BFA in illustration at Pratt in Brooklyn, N.Y.
As one of “36 Under 36,” Sudin is now not only getting attention for her role as a visual artist, but as someone wielding influence in the world of modern Jewish art.
“It is very much an honor. I feel very privileged to be among other strong entrepreneurs and people who are trying to make a difference. Because it is not just about my art – my art is something that I do personally, but my husband and I are really trying to make a change and generate attention for contemporary Jewish art and something that is relevant to 21st century Judaism and 21st century aesthetic.”
For more information about Sudin and her work, visit www.elkerevasudin.com and www.jewishartnow.com.