Joshua Sofaer

Art & Performance

Namesake

The Jewish Museum, London, 13th May 2004
Home, London, 14th May 2004
Swiss Church, London, 15th May 2004
Powerhouse, Nottingham, 4th November 2004
The REP, Birmingham, 28th May 2005
Tate Britain, London, 3rd February 2006

Namesake: The Story of a Name, is a live performance combined with a rich multi-layered audio track and music by composer Jonathan Cooper. The narrative follows the journey of an artist – Joshua Sofaer – to discover the roots and reverberations of his name.

The audio journey takes him from London to New York where he meets his namesake, the other Joshua Sofaer, who works as a full-time proselytizing missionary with Jews for Jesus, a breakaway Messianic group who believe in the salvation of Jesus but choose to maintain their Jewish heritage.

The namesakes discover that they are in fact related and that they share a Great-Great-Grandfather who lived in mid-Nineteenth Century Baghdad. The Joshua Sofaers discuss what it has been like to live with this name, their lives, religion and politics and how they understand the Hebrew reverberations of their name – Joshua (Salvation) – Sofaer (Scribe). They are both Joshua Sofaer – very different but also exactly the same.

Part documentary, part autobiography, Namesake is at times humorous and at times provocative. It asks us to imagine what our lives would have been like if our parents had called us something else instead.

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