From as far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the idea of morality. The idea that there is in people an innate sense of right and wrong is so intriguing to me. What interests me even more is the choice people make to either abide by the "right," or move against it.
During college, I studied Philosophy and Psychology, different approaches to understanding the human mind and choice making. I took courses on the Holocaust in both disciplines and grew to better understand the "how?" that seems to permeate the discussion. More specifically, "how could people have allowed that to happen."
It wasn't until a recent class with my Rabbi that I realized I was asking the wrong question. The focus can be slightly shifted away from the masses that aligned themselves with evil, and placed onto the few that stood in the face of horror and fought back. There are countless cases of what are referred to as "the Righteous Gentiles." These people have made a place for themselves in history and are all recognized on the path that leads to the Holocaust Museum in Israel. In order to be recognized along this path, the person must have put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to help the Jewish people.
The story that currently resonates with me the most was of a mother who brought her young girl to a convent in the Italian mountains and asked the Mother Superior to take care of her, She asked that her daughter not be converted unless word was received that the mother had died. Each day at 4 o'clock, the child was removed from class and brought to see the Mother Superior where she was given a spoonful of sugar that she was told was from her mother. This story magnified in me all of my own motherly, protective instinct. The idea that this young girl was connected to her mother every day through this simple act just overwhelms me. Both women survived, and there is such beauty in the idea that they were not strangers because the little girl was able to feel her mother's love every day across great distances and regardless of the hate that surrounded them.
There are so many more stories like this one. The simplicity and the gravity of those acts, and their immeasurable impact, have been resonating with me. The history of the Holocaust has this vein of hopefulness and beauty that is often lost in the darkness. I would like to bring that vein to the forefront of people's awareness. I was, once upon a time, a highly motivated visual artist. I had lost my vision or inspiration for years. Since learning these stories, my mind has been possessed with images of the "Righteous Gentiles." I have this unrelenting drive to put these stories to paper the way i see them through my eyes. I have a genuine need to share what is in my mind and heart with those around me.
My project will consist of ten large scale multimedia pieces. I will incorporate painting, figure drawing, collage with fiber works, metal work, and other materials. I will meet with my Rabbi to discuss the ten particular stories I will focus on, and I will do research to ensure that the stories I tell with my art are accurate. The funds that I raise will be used for art materials as well as for reproducing the pieces in slide form so that I can promote them locally and hopefully have them shown somewhere. I may someday sell them, but I have a goal that they will be seen as an entire body multiple times with the hopes that I will raise awareness regarding these heroes. I have set my goal at $1800 because the number 18 in Hebrew is made of the same characters as the word "chai," which means life. It is my hope that kickstarter can give life to my vision.
Just a note: if I don't reach my goal, I don't get any of the money. :( (Kickstarter told me to tell you that)
Risks and challenges
Because of the lofty nature of the subject matter and because of the size of my vision, there is a risk that my project will take longer to complete than i would ideally like it to. I am giving myself a year to finish this, and I believe that is erring on the side of generous.
There is also a risk that I may not find a gallery willing to show my work, but I believe that if I broaden the scope to Jewish agencies and other possible venues, I will find a place to share my pieces.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)