Hands On Hamsa Exchange

Gallery Statement

Hands-on invites you into the spiritual and artistic correspondence of Vicki Reikes Fox and Georgia Freedman-Harvey. By creating and sending each other handmade hamsot, ancient symbols of protection reimagined for a modern world, they created a model for friendship, storytelling, and collaboration. Their decade-long project demonstrates art’s power to forge strong connections, convey powerful emotions, and sustain community. 

When artist Vicki Reikes Fox moved away from California in 2006, she left behind close friend and fellow artist Georgia Freedman-Harvey. With a continent between them, the two began an art-based correspondence, creating and sending hamsot back and forth to one another. They wanted to go beyond the instant gratification culture of internet communication and return to a time when one waited eagerly for a piece of mail. Over the course of more than a decade, Fox and Freedman-Harvey have created a collection of over sixty hamsot. 

Hands-on is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. The process of creating the hamsot as an artistic dialogue represents an art-based form of hevruta, Jewish study done in partnership. Creating artwork within this context expands our contemporary definition of participating in and living a creative Jewish life. 

Amulet – exploring the protective power of this object to ward off “the evil eye” and invoke the hand of God. Folk Art – examining the creation of objects handed down for generations. Crafting Community – a hands-on section inviting you to create a hamsa and mail it. The hope is Hands-on will inspire similar projects in communities throughout the United States. Join the exchange and share your thoughts on the exhibit, your hamsa artwork, and your stories of connection by tagging #hamsaexchange on social media. 

Hands-on and USC Hillel invite you to find space in your life to tap into your creative side and remember those who matter most. May this exhibition inspire you

with the pure joy that comes from creating and encourage you to nurture meaningful connections with one another. We hope this project inspires you to consider: How do you express yourself to those closest to you? Do you share what you create with the people you love? How do you mark moments of transition? In what ways are you creating lasting connections with friends and family?