Mira Lehr is a Jewish artist whose work has thrived during oppressing times. Her career reflects her determination to overcome suppression. Through her work, she speaks on pressing matters.
Mira Lehr grew up in the north side of Miami, Florida during the 1940s. As a young girl, she remembers walking past a sign on her way to school that read ‘No Jews, No Dogs’. Her drive to make a change through her work was stemmed from her time living in an area where not many Jewish people lived.
“I remember seeing that terrible sign every day on a building in a secluded neighborhood street and thinking: when I grow up, I’m going to do something so great that will make the people who created this sign change their minds.”
Mira Lehr then moved to New York, where she studied alongside well-known artists such as Joan Mitchell, Ludwig Sander, and James Brooks. Her return to Miami from New York made her realize the art scene in her beloved home was not as advanced as others. Women in the arts were especially not showcased. Determined to change that, Lehr founded a gallery in the 1960s specifically catered to female artists called Continuum.
Continuum created a space for women to learn and expand their work on the realms of creation. The gallery achieved this for over 30 years.
Alongside being a Jewish artist, Lehr describes herself as a eco-feminist artist. Her work focuses on capturing the beauty of our earth. The beauty of her creations are meant to share the importance of protecting the planet we live on.
“My creation of art has always been based on nature, but now, I am more dedicated to ecology and saving the planet. We are all in a terrible dilemma now; the planet is suffering and is in danger. People need to be aware of the danger that is threatening all of us, and we have to work together to reverse this situation.”
This month at the Jewish Museum of Florida, Lehr will be showcasing her work in her exhibition titled Mira Lehr: A Walk in the Garden. The exhibit was created with the museum in mind.
“Because this museum was originally built in the 1930s as the first synagogue on Miami Beach for Jewish residents who were discouraged from living north of fifth street, my story comes full circle”
Her work is often made using gunpowder and fire. This medium is meant to burn holes through her paintings and create patterns. A variety of Lehr’s featured sculptures are based on the seven plants mentioned in the Torah. Her work will make the viewer feel as if they are walking through a holy garden.
It is no surprise Lehr’s artistic magic has been moving the world for decades now.