Self-Inflicted Wounds

an unfinished retrospective, in four chapters, by
JANA ZIMMER | Attorney + Artist

At this moment, I see my life, and my artwork, not as an arc, or even as a progression, but as a Möbius strip. Themes, imperatives, lessons, and obsessions keep returning, disguised in different contexts. Things may be finished, but they are never over.

Like history.

Chapter I

Art and Catastrophe


I CAME TO ART late in life, and untrained, when my mother came to live with my husband and me. Both she and my father were Holocaust survivors. I abhorred the idea that my mother should end her life…

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Chapter II

Images of Exile


I WAS RAISED WITH THE IDEA of Israel as a refuge state for Jews. My only trip there occurred in 1995, the era of the Oslo accords. I fell in love with Jerusalem, despite my ambivalence about the occupied territories… 

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Chapter III

Justice and Genocide


AS A LAWYER, I have always gravitated toward human rights law, and the rights of refugees. I was particularly moved by events…

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Chapter IV

The Everlasting Present


BEFORE MY MOTHER’S DEATH in 2000, I had been doing legal research on slave labor during the war. Because she had been made a part of…

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Attorney + Artist

I am a semi-retired environmental lawyer, aging female, raging feminist, and doting grandmother. My creativity is inspired by politics, history, memory, and a sense of responsibility to document the past. I have had difficulty ‘integrating’ my old life as a lawyer and my newer life as an artist, except that, in both, I rely on narrative, and seek justice and documentation of truth.