Golem Lives with Karla Diaz

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Day Three

I look into the eyes of the people of Prague to see if I can recognize any traces of the Golem. According to legend, he was a man-like figure made of the earth. What does a Golem look like now? Will I recognize him if I saw him? Will I know him when he speaks? Everywhere I go I look for him. Today I went to a store by the apartment run by an older couple. They sell bread, milk, ice cream, newspapers, magazines and underwear. The older man looks at me, without smiling he charges me for the ice cream and gives me my change. It so hot, the ice cream begins to melt in my hand. His silent, sunken eyes remind me of my grandfather in Mexico. Both of them embodying that insider look of struggle and skepticism. Who is really a Golem? According to Jewish legend, the Golem still lives in Prague, having escaped the fires set up by the Nazis to destroy the Jewish people. It’s interesting to me, this idea that the Golem is embodied in the one that survived because there is still the possibility that he is still living. Mario and I begin drawing and selecting images for our mural. We chose images to represent emblems of survival in Los Angeles. For both of us it has been surviving violence. We choose images that are common iconographies, or images that speak this street-language. The act of painting it is the act of calling the Golem to rise.

During the painting of the mural, other women whisper to me how great it is that I am painting, moving ladders and doing the same thing as the man artists are doing. I don’t quite understand what they mean at that moment, partly because they are speaking in another language. But then I realize what they mean. In the art world, there is a small group of women artists represented in major exhibitions. I realize how important it is for me to be a part of this. I began to think that I have been looking in all the wrong places, accepting a notion of the golem being a man figure. Could the Golem ultimately be a feminist perspective on man and humanity? The golem of Prague seems to be lacking both male and female stereotypical traits, emotion and intellect. Could the Golem of Prague be a representation of woman’s critique on how women are pushed by man to have a non-human existence? To get a clearer perspective on this I interview a young German artist, Christine Wurmell. She is part of a women’s group of artists in the exhibition. I ask her if she thinks women are well represented. She begins to tell me that this is not true. The argument, she says, people tell her is that there are just not good enough women artists. How can women be represented in the arts? How can women and the way they speak about subjectivity be address in an intellectual way that is not deemed predictable, stereotypical of a ”woman’s” work? We chat for a while, showing me her work and sharing her thoughts.