“Judith Twice Loved”

Micaela Amato Amateau
May 01, 2001
photograph of female statue

Two Greek classical figures, overlapped in space and time, recall Heraclitus's notion of a new dimension, a "threefold of time"—past, present, and future as well as a line from the work of Jorge Luis Borges: "what web is this, of will be, is, and was."

The title refers to my sister Judith and to the biblical heroine of the same name, which calls up the fluid history of the ancient Mediterranean basin: the site of trade, exile, and migration, as well as merging racial and ethnic identities; a place of hybrid cultures where east and west, north and south, Europe and Africa all collide.

Traveling from Morocco to Iberia, our ancient family name "Habibi" was translated to "Amatus" in Portugal and "Amado" in Spain. Exiled from Iberia during the Spanish Inquisition, our family became "Amato" in Italy, finally settling on the Island of Rhodes until immigrating to the Americas in the 1930s and becoming "Amateau."

Amato means beloved.

Micaela Amato is also Michele Amateau. "Judith Twice Loved" is an allusion to this migration and multiplicity of identities, this web "of will be, is, and was."

Micaela Amato Amateau is professor of art and women's studies, 305 Visual Arts Bldg., University Park, PA 16802; 814-865-9700; mxa17@psu.edu. Reported by Laura Driscoll Gatrone.

Last Updated May 01, 2001