Sunday, May 18, 2008

At a loss

Thanks to ties that bind bloggers, I have worked on a star to send to Jillian Curtis, who is collecting stars for a Holocaust Memorial in her yard.
One mother's act to educate her children about history, horrific persecution, and genocide. An act of remembrance.

A few summers ago, Faith York, island neighbor, songwriter, and musician, led the Peaks Island Chorale in a performance of Songs of Freedom. One piece was called I never saw another butterfly based on a poem written by Pavel Friedman, a child in the Terezin Concentration Camp in 1942. Faith asked my daughter to sing a solo with the adult chorale during this piece. We became familiar with it's haunting beauty. Art is an act of remembrance.

This drawing became the center of my star, which incorporates collaged text from the book, I never saw another butterfly, and glossy bits of butterfly wings from magazines.

Whenever my focus is on something, there is this uncanny radar that manifests relevant encounters. I recently visited the MFA thesis exhibition at the ICA Gallery at Maine College of Art where I interacted with an installation by Sandra Marianne Preston. In her project, "Whispered," she assembled a Holocaust Educational Kit, a collection of suitcases and photo albums that blend real objects and the fictional history of a teacher, Cassandra Wolf. Preston had posed as this teacher, carting around her kit of blocks, gum, photos, toys, and photo albums in an effort to ask questions of the viewer.
As I put on the white gloves for handling the authentic looking album, I realized it was part then, part now... yet convincing me of that intangible place between memory and fact.

The Holocaust itself is hard to fathom, yet every evidence of remembrance can instill tolerance, maybe hope. Maybe peace.

This is a piece I did years ago, about a war-torn child in Germany.

Children need to be shown peace, to remember the losses. Jillian Curtis earns my respect for bringing this lesson to her own backyard.

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