Victorian-era sculptors depicted the allegorical figure of Hope as a woman wearing flowing garments and a diadem, often with an anchor by her side, and a hand held up to the sky, or over her heart. The Statue of Liberty is one example of the genre.

Another is a granite statue titled “Industry,” created for the Chicago Board of Trade’s 1885 headquarters, and augmented with unusual elements including a chisel, an anvil, a gear wheel, and a ship’s prow. A stereoscopic image of that statue is at the center of THE WORK OF HOPE.

The statue is pictured here atop an imaginary base of stone blocks, hovering above a sea of clouds, beneath the star patterns of the winter solstice. She exemplifies hope not as a passively experienced emotion, but as an actively cultivated mindset, suggesting that amid turmoil and darkness, the work of hope is keeping a deliberate, informed focus on the possibilities for transformative change — an essential form of creativity.

THE WORK OF HOPE will be featured in HOPE/LESS, an exhibition presented by Yiddish New York, at the Heller Museum in New York City in December 2022 and January 2023.