Welcome back to “Numbers”. It has been such a humbling experience to have read all your amazing comments on panel one. I hope you will enjoy this continuation of Esther and Sam’s journey. Documenting their journey, at least for this moment in time, has become weaved into a part of mine - it seems.
Like any of my artworks – I threw myself into this with gusto and extreme sensitivity, running all over Sydney or ebay-ing the world to get just the right elements.
Indeed, I received a number of parcels laden with gifts from my blogging pals overseas, they hoped that I could use some of their gifts, somehow in this piece. I did, and along the way I will let you know which ones were used in this particular panel. It seems that Esther and Sam’s story had stuck a chord with many.
All your positive energy represents the underlying theme behind the comments and emails – one of tolerance. I certainly felt and rode on everyone’s energy, an international energy of newfound friends and artists, when creating this second panel. Now exhausted and somewhat depleted of energy, I present to you the second panel of “Numbers”.
The entire panel is the same size as panel 1.
It is made up of 24 individual art pieces.
It was decided by Robert and I that this panel would mainly focus on Sam and Esther’s arrival from Eastern Europe to Australia.
The focus here is about friends, some of whom were to become more like family to the Fiszmans. As you will see as I take you through both sections of this panel, the atmosphere moves from the dark to the light.
It was a deliberate choice that this panel would not focus on immediate family, leaving that and Sam’s political history for Panel 3. In saying that, Sam and inevitably his entire family’s connection to the said political party has a direct correlation to them being allowed into Australia as refugees - under the policies of that party.
In fact, outside of Israel, Australia had the largest amount of Survivors migrating due to allowable intake- which by the way was by no means large.
I started the panel with the image of the photo I found in Annika’s scrapbook. These would have been Robert’s aunts and uncles.
After posting this photo on my blog, I received a phone call from Robert, saying,
‘Look, there’s my family”. It was said with joy and yet a tinge of sadness for they were family stolen from him. He didn’t have to say anything else, I understood.
Before I continue on to the process, I would like to explain that when I undertake a Visual anthology, I am given a number of photos. Without exception, each Visual Anthology is a dynamic process. Always changing. More photos’s sometimes come to light – or I see that something is missing and research until I find what I am after, even if it is symbolic. Hence when I stumbled upon this photo, I knew it had to go in.
It represented many things, not only family lost but the link to the baby photo of Sam sitting in the chair in panel 1.
It represented and served as a reminder that 2 million children were killed during that time.
It represented the link that would, by a chance of fate, one’s survival, bring Sam and Esther to Australia.
The photo is set in a frame. I deliberately use similar textures and colouring to that used for Sam’s parents in panel 1. For in this photo we see Lonia Walkenbreit. She and Sam’s mother Malka were sisters. Lonia had 9 brothers and sisters. With the exception of Lonia who married and went to live in Australia all perished in the Holocaust.
I have used mica to highlight the children. But you will notice, there is no mica over the image of Lonia. I did this in order to highlight the fact that it was Lonia and also to highlight that she was the only survivor of these children.
Attached to the piece of wood is what looks like an old nappy pin. (The pin was a gift from Rande). Stamped onto the pin are the words 9/10 killed. I chose the nappy pin as it represents babies, children. The pin holds the rusted chain which attaches to the frame.
What is REALLY ODD here is the RED stain that has APPEARED in the photo.
It looks like blood almost -don't you think?
It is NOT something I did!
It does NOT look like this in reality!
It has appeared in the photo's, as it were, by chance - or is it chance? NO WAY.
Say hi to SAM everyone!
He is working with all of us here, he wants to get his message across, I am sure of it,
Never forget and Never again!
Directly below is this piece.
I have cropped it just so you can see it before showing you the piece as it is.
You may recognize this photo of Sam, who is pictured on the right, from panel 1.
I needed to find the correct (by my standards) element or something here to serve as a reminder of what Sam had experienced. I found a piece of paper from a very old numerology book that is made up of lots of numbers and years.
Perfect, I had found that.
What was even better for the purposes of this piece was the amount of number 6’s that accompanied that year.
6 representing million Jews killed.
Strangely this was from a Russian book that I had recently purchased.
Again perfect as this photo also represents Sam in his Communist days.
The copper wire, strung to hold the photo, is done in the shape of a star of David for when you see that it is attached to this vintage book…
you will now understand why I did that.
The fatal Star of David was the book I chose for these two pieces to sit on.
It seemed that logical choice when browsing my book collection.
On the right is the piece of wood upon which is placed watch parts, a number 8, leaves and the Hebrew word Chai.
This particular element was put together to represent the tree of life and Jewish continuity.
Pictured in Poland after liberation, this photo was taken just after Esther and Sam married.
For me this photo represents:
Hitler’s failure to achieve his plan to wipe all Jews off the face of the world.
That in the face of continual anti-semitism throughout the ages, the Jews have managed to survive.
Jewish continuity, a theme, a struggle and a reality that has been drummed into Roberts and my existence. The fight for the survival of our people is in our life-force.
8 does not stand for the number 8 – it stands for eternal. Our eternal struggle for survival.
The watch parts, wheels and cogs - representing the movement of our people throughout the generations. Always moving from country to country usually due to persecution.
The leaves - of the tree of life and the family tree.
These leaves represent:
the other family members in the photo Ishek and Bereg whom we saw in the last panel.
Esther and Sam’s survival and union in marriage – the creation of a new family which in turn symbolizes the continuity of a people through the birth of a child.
The vitage bronze "Chai" – meaning life in Hebrew.
Representing the tree of life and those lives spared.
I know you must be wondering if I had had a strange moment placing pink in a piece of my work and especially here.
Ahh but you already know that it must symbolise something if it found its way in one of my art pieces, right.
The pink and blue silk weaved on the nameplate –
When I visited Esther, she mentioned to me that she, to this day, recalls exactly what she wore, the day she met Sam. She wore a pink jumper and a navy blue pleated skirt. The people looking after her insisted she get dressed very well, as she explained she cam from a family of elegance prior to the war and if you were to meet Esther today – you would be struck by her elegance.
I had to represent that somehow – so I did it on this photo, the only one from the relevant time frame.
So that is it for this post but as always...
To be continued.