“A practice in empathy, commitment, and giving back to the community.”
A 30-year-old Brooklyn artist recently took on a rather delectable art installation at the community bodega Specials on Ave. C to send a special message of empathy into the world, but mainly to one very special person — her mother.
Find out why SO many sandwiches, what inspired Jessica to take on the culinary challenge, and whether or not she used chunky peanut butter…
What better way to say ‘thanks, Mom’?’
Why so many sandwiches?
Jessica Olah is a multi-media artist with a background in visual art. Her latest project “2,340 PBJ&J Sandwiches is an ode to her mother’s parenting skills and a signal of empathy to all moms everywhere.
“When I was growing up, my mother made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every single day of school,” says Olah. “If you count all the school days there are over 13 years, that’s 2,340 sandwiches!”
So after a conversation with a friend one day over lunch, Olah made plans to pay every sandwich forward.
Olah performed the piece in an NYC gallery in alphabet city, sitting and building sandwiches over the course of five days, talking to those who came to visit her and watch. Her mother is also an artist — a photographer — so she included her mother’s artwork on the walls to add to her presence to the space. Her parents even flew into the city to join her by handing her ingredients for an entire day.
Olah revealed that while her hands hurt after the big installation was over, she enjoyed the process of assembling the hundreds of sandwiches. “Part of this was recognizing, beyond my mom, what mothers in general do as a sacrifice or things that go unnoticed and just bringing that attention,” said Olah to the Huffington Post.