Parchment is an installation of community collected parchment papers exploring the mark made by baking challah bread for Shabbat, leaving an imprint of memory.

Type of Exhibition: Art

Parchment: Rob Shostak. Image courtesy of FENTSTER.

Outdoor Opening | Sunday, June 12 | 2:30 – 4:30 PM | Artist remarks at 3:30 PM
Celebrate the opening of Parchment with homemade challah bites and live music from The Horables


Parchment is an installation of community collected parchment papers exploring the mark made by baking challah bread for Shabbat, leaving an imprint of memory. When the pandemic dashed Toronto artist Rob Shostak’s ambitions to host large Friday night gatherings, baking braided challah bread became a small gesture to enliven Shabbat dinners for two with his then-new partner. For FENTSTER, this intimate experience expanded into a collective effort during a period marked by separation. The artist gathered parchment papers from across the country and around the world leftover from the baking process. Usually discarded, these sheets bear unusual golden-brown markings, which reveal the distinctive underbelly of this Ashkenazi bread more typically celebrated for its artfully twisted exterior and a slightly sweet, fluffy interior.

Novices and food industry pros, rabbis and artists, Jews and Gentiles, the observant and secular, children and grandparents viewed these accidental prints as snowflakes, finger and footprints, even Rorschach tests. Each sheet is as unique as its baker while retaining a consistency and familiarity akin to the tradition itself, with the oven acting as the serendipitous darkroom “developing” images onto the page. The fleeting way time is marked by the weekly celebration of Shabbat (the seventh day of rest) is made visible in the parchment papers. Shostak explores the impermanence of memory and Shabbat rituals—candles, wine and bread are all consumed—as these flimsy pages become an archive of that which disappeared months ago.

Follow @ParchmentProject for more stories and photos behind the parchment prints.

Rob Shostak is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada, whose work navigates the intersection of place, memory, and time. Shostak’s work has been exhibited at The Gladstone Hotel, the Toronto waterfront, the Bentway, among others, and appeared in Architectural Record, Azure, Domus, The Toronto Star, BlogTO, CBC, CityTV among others. Alongside these professional accomplishments, he is known for dressing up in his own custom designs of Toronto landmarks for Halloween. This ongoing project is the true display of his love for Toronto, and his passion for city building and community. Shostak is a co-founder of (Studio(Venn)Studio) – a queer-led multidisciplinary arts collective with Dionisios Vriniotis.

FENTSTER thanks Lauren Schreiber-Sasaki, Sabrina Malach, Miles Nadal JCC, Shoresh, Museum of Jewish Montreal, bare market and all those who graciously baked for this exhibition. (Check back for the full list of participants)

Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

Start Date:

April 26, 2022

End Date:

September 8, 2022

Visit FENTSTER @ Makom day & night

Downtown Toronto

402 College Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1S8


If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


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