JP artist gives Old Testament Ruth a makeover

(Courtesy Image) “Ruth” by Sue Murad.

Tres Gatos, the tapas bar/book and music shop at 470 Centre St. will host a reception for Jamaica Plain artist Sue Murad’s new book “Ruth,” an illustrated re-telling of the Old Testament story, on Dec. 11.

In the Book of Ruth, the title character remains in the land of Moab with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after Naomi’s husband and sons die instead of returning to her own family. She is regarded as a symbol of loyalty and redemption.

The collage art book, illustrated with images and text from one copy of Vanity Fair magazine’s January 2010 issue, was how Murad prepared herself for a trip to Jordan, she said.

“I found that several thousand years ago, that land was called Moab, where the story of Ruth in the Old Testament originates. The process of making this book, a meditation with scissors, I called it, was a way that I prepared myself for my trip,” Murad told the Gazette.

For several years, Murad said, she used her art studio as a library and studied ancient cultures and Old Testament history.

“I was particularly interested in how these findings connected with my life today. It was during this time that the idea to tell an ancient story with one contemporary magazine came to mind,” Murad said.

Travel is a “good shock to my senses” that mimics her feelings toward art, Murad said.

“There is surprise and problem solving and beauty and rest and panic and heartache mixed with profound moments. If I’m not a little scared, I’m not going to enjoy it,” Murad said. “Travel and art require the same kind of courage to [seek] what I find meaningful and exciting.”

The book launch party will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 11 at Tres Gatos, 470 Centre Street. Tres Gatos can be reached at or 617-477-4851.

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