Family History Spotlight: Jenny Yurshansky

“To abandon one’s home and leave everything behind and come someplace entirely unknown, this brings generational trauma.”
Image by Jenny Yurshansky

Within each individuals’ family history, there are many untold stories that deserve to be remembered forever. It is important to be aware of the adversity of those who came before us, and the impact that their struggles have had on future generations. Jenny Yurshanksy, an artist based in Los Angeles, created a new gallery titled ‘Legacy of Loss’ that digs deeper into the stories of loss contained in her family history.

Jenny Yurshansky’s parents fled Moldova in 1978 during the Soviet-era with two small suitcases filled only with what they needed to survive and less than $300. The suitcases contained mostly clothes and blankets. Jenny’s mother was pregnant with her at the time, and was able to fit an infant’s hat, as well as an alphabet baby book. Pages of the baby book, as well as other items from the journey, have been incorporated into the art pieces featured in ‘Legacy of Loss’.

Jenny explored the connections between her mother’s extreme stress during pregnancy, and many of her physical and physiological traits, such as scoliosis, being shorter than the rest of her family, as well as ADHD, which has been linked to childhood trauma.

‘Legacy of Loss’ reveals the deep connection that we have, whether conscious or not, with the traumas of past generations. This provides even more context as to the importance of uncovering and understanding the stories of our ancestors.

Looking to honor the stories of generations before you? Try coming together with relatives and using the following questions to spur stories that matter most to your family.

  • How are you like each of your parents? How are you different?

  • What are 1-2 of your favorite memories or stories about your grandparents?

  • How have the lives of your parents, grandparents, and/or great grandparents made an impact on your life?

  • How far back can your ancestry be traced? What is known about the life of that relative? (This one may take some serious digging)

For more on Jenny Yurshansky’s story, view the full article here

You can also view her website here