Artist Adam Nudelman asks himself why he always paints shoes? Behind these objects lies a story about family and loss.
NARRATOR: I'm always asked why I paint shoes. My poppy was a shoemaker. He was kind-- gentle but quiet. Except for work, he lived a frugal existence in almost complete isolation and squalor.
As far as I know, we were the only visitors to set foot inside their house. We only ever entered the back kitchen area. All the other rooms remained a complete mystery.
My great-aunt Manya rarely emerged from her self-imposed bedroom exile. As a child, I would sense her loneliness and sadness eking out through the keyhole.
My nana was once a very strong woman. She would regularly disappear into one particularly mysterious room, reemerging with gifts of socks, stockings, shoes, and sandals.
It was not until I stood beside my poppy's deceased body at the Jewish funeral parlor that I first truly realized my grandparents were Jewish. He-- along with my nana, great-aunt Manya, dad-- immigrated from Poland to Australia in late 1940s. They had somehow survived the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
My father and I had to clean up their house. What we found were rooms stuffed full to ceiling with rags, boxes, clothes, and other general bits and pieces. My nana's gift room was full, floor to ceiling, with brand new shoes still in their boxes. These had been left over from my poppy's shoe shop.
Within my paintings, I continually return to motifs such as shoes, shoe boxes, wooden dolls, towels, and humanless landscapes. I see these as vessels or narratives, each potentially containing small snippets of information about my grandparents and their families in that moment in history which had perversely affected them.
My discovery of my Jewish background has led me to explore and question my own identity. That's why paint.