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Ostraca Imagined: Shards of Hebrew Poems from Spain


Óstraca Imagined: Shards of Hebrew Poems from Spain by Héctor Contreras López, a translator, writer, and educator of the experiences of Latin American Jews, is an artistic recreation of Sephardic poems on shards of pottery, in the style of traditional ostracon of the Biblical period. Contreras López uses the themes of brokenness, antiquity, and fragments to reflect upon the common aspects of the Sephardic and crypto-Jewish experience, including being part of an ancient tradition but only having limited access. This exhibit will feature the work of 16 different poets spanning 5 centuries, including big names in Jewish history like Nahmandies and Moses ibn Ezra along with poets whose names have been lost to the passage of time, such as the wife of Dunash ben Labrat. Óstraca Imagined will also open alongside the start of the Semi-Annual Festival Sefardí, a celebration of the history, culture, and language of the “Hidden Jews” of New Mexico. During Festival Sefardí, Héctor Contreras López will be giving a gallery talk on ostracon and the show.

Óstraca Imagined: Shards of Hebrew Poems from Spain will be in person at Congregation Nahalat Shalom from early June 3rd to June 30th. Please call the office of Nahalat Shalom at (505) 343-8227 to schedule a viewing.

To learn more and to view a complete version of the Festival schedule which will coincide with Óstraca Imagined, visit the Festival Sefardí webpage ( or find the festival on Facebook (@sefardimizrahi).

This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts, and by the Stratton-Petit Foundation.