How do you convey an experience that is so horrific that simply speaking about it can never adequately express the pain, the terror, the trauma?
You use art.
Almost 300 survivors of the Holocaust have provided paintings, drawings, sculptures, video and photographs to communicate through the medium of art, their experiences. The first exhibition of survivor art of this scale “Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors’ Creativity” features pieces from 1945 through the present day and gives a vision of the Holocaust through the eyes of survivors.
In ten to fifteen years there will be no survivors left alive. All we will have for future generations to understand THEIR experiences are their words... and their art. Humans are visual creatures. Often the real power to comprehension is via that medium.
Most images of the Holocaust until now have come from black and white photographs taken by the Nazis, and from movies imagined and interpreted by film-makers. The exhibition, which will be on view for a year, shows the "real" and personal side of the Holocaust from the viewpoint of those who were there, communicated through art with blood, paint and tears.
Curator Yehudit Shendar points out “The exhibition tries to explore for the first time how survivors actually remember a place we too often call indescribable. It is not only describable, it is describable in very vivid colors. A lot of people look at these pictures and say 'It's too gruesome to look, well, it was too gruesome to live."
One of the true values of art - it provides us with a means to understand things outside our scope of experience. All art, whether it is paintings, photographs, movies, performances, stories shows us a view of the world, and the human condition, that is born through the experiences and minds of others. Without art, we are blind. Without art, we experience nothing except that which we come in direct contact with. Without art, we are lost in ignorance.
Additional art about the holocaust:http://www.english.illinoi
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