The Krum Gallery
celebrating Jewish & American refugee and immigrant art

Chrystie Sherman

Chrystie Sherman has been a photographer for 25 years. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and abroad. She was educated at the University of Vermont, the University of Paris, and New York University. She has worked as a photojournalist for the Associated Press, as a set photographer for PBS and WGBH childrenís television, and for Jim Henson and The Muppets. The Diaspora Essay is a work-in-progress, to be published as a book. Chrystie lives in New York City and travels extensively to photograph surviving Jewish communities in the post-Holocaust world.

During the past 10 years, Chrystie has been working on a photographic project titled "Lost Futures: Journeys into the Jewish Diaspora," to visually record Jewish communities that are in danger of extinction. These communities have their roots in Ancient Babylonian, Persian, Ashkenazi, and Sephardic heritages. For over 2,000 years, these peoples have migrated to many different areas, from the far reaches of the Manchurian border to North Africa. This important project addresses the issues of who will survive after years of oppression, poverty and, ultimately, emigration.

This project reflects Chrystie's belief that photography is a unique tool that can visually record our changing world. There is little ethnographic work done in this area and her desire is that this project will document the traditions of these fragile communities that are in danger of disappearing.

Her recent exhibit focuses on the two trips she made to India in 2003 and 2007. There are three established and two emerging Jewish groups comprising a tiny fraction of the total Indian population of 1.3 billion Hindus and Muslims: the Cochin Jews of the southern Malabar coast; the Bene Israel of the Konkan Coast; the Baghdadi Jews of Mumbai and Kolkata; the Bene Menashe, of Mizoram near the Burma border; and finally the Bene Ephraim, in the south central province of Andhra Pradesh. These last two are in the process of being recognized as distinct Jewish communities by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which will make it possible for them to emigrate there.

Chrystie's Artwork (17)

Wedding, 2003
Mumbai, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Traditional Indian henna hand- painting is usually done the day before the wedding.

Family at a Rural Outpost, 2007
Environs of Aizwal, Mizorim,India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Small farmhouse where food and supplies are available for sale.

Tea Gatherers in Late Afternoon, 2007
Sihphef, Mizorim, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

These two young women have just returned from picking tea along the steep

Lighting Candles on Shabbat, 2007
Kottarddipalem, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Mother, daughter and mother-in-law light candles together on Shabbat.

The Jewish Community of the Bene Ephraim, 2007
Kottareddipalem, India
20 in (h) x 24 in (w)

Group portrait of members of the thirty-some families that make up the

Rice Cutter, 2007
Kottarddipalem, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

The image of this woman was taken as she was returning from work in the rice fields.

Widow, 2007
Kottareddipalem, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Member of the Bene Ephraim community.

Five Young Girls on a Bench, 2007
Kottarddipalem, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

These girls are waiting for their mothers to return from work in the

Woman and Bullock, 2003
Alibag, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

The cow, although sacred, is also used to plough the family rice fields.

Man with Adopted Child, 2007
Alibag, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

The young girl is the daughter of this man's second wife. Childless from his first

Two Nearly Blind Men, 2007
Mumbai, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

These two men are Baghdadi Jews, who now pray with the Bene Israel Minyan at the

Medical Camp, 2003
Mumbai, India
36 in (h) x 36 in (w)

One Sunday each month, the JDC sponsors free medical check-ups. These Indian Jews are waiting to see

Hazan, 2007
Alibag, India
11 in (h) x 14 in (w)

Cantor and caretaker of the Magen Abode Synagogue. There is no longer a minyan, but services are still

Prosperous Farmer and His Wife in Their Hayfields, 2007
Alibag, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

This couple is one of the most well to do Jewish

Minyan, 2007
Mumbai, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Shabbat at the Magan David Synagogue in Mumbai.

Sara and Her Servant, 2003
Cochin, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

Sara is an embroiderer by trade, and lives with her Indian servant in the same

Grandmother and Child, 2007
Sihpef, Mizorim, India
16 in (h) x 20 in (w)

This woman cares for her grandson while her daughter works harvesting crops.