Veil of Memory, Prologue: The Last Supper
On March 31, 1492, an edict issued by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, ordered the expulsion of Jews from their kingdom. Given only three months to flee the country, convert to Catholicism, or be executed without trial, some 200,000 people were abruptly exiled from their homeland. Those who chose to leave were forbidden to carry gold, silver, or coined money out of the kingdom.
Veil of Memory. Prologue: The Last Supper by Terry Berkowitz depicts a forgotten moment as the Jews of Spain paused for a final meal, at the threshold of the unknown, just a few hours before crowding into the tiny 15th century ships that would take them away. Visitors are invited to sit at a wooden table in the shape of a crucifix. Atop the table sit empty bowls, spoons, and glasses partially filled with water. Video projections on nearby walls reveal blue-hued shapes of people lined up to march on their journey with portions of the edict of expulsion layered under image. In the center of the table is a display of the sea in constant motion with sounds of crashing waves, Catalan liturgical music, and the murmurs of people too nervous or afraid to speak aloud.