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Translating Esther

mixed media, 2003

Koffler Gallery, Toronto

“Why did you put me in the world if only for me to be lost in it?”

Hélène Cixous, Coming to Writing and other Essays


Translating Esther, drawing on the life of the first Jewish woman to arrive in New France, unravels a quirky and deeply resonant story of nationalism, identity and masquerade. Echoing the hidden strength of her Persian namesake Queen Esther, honouring her Marrano ancestors, and prefiguring the contested borders of modernity, Esther Brandeau was adept at translation. Passing between the traditional and the unknown, her restless life story leans toward the margins we now often recognize as the home of the Other.

An archive
of the last 30 years.

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