Art recalls responsibility. "Forbidden Art" exhibition in Las Vegas
The exhibition "Forbidden Art," presenting 20 works of art made illegally, and at risk to the live, by prisoners of the German Nazi concentration camps, was opened in the Beth Sholom synagogue in Las Vegas.
President of the United States Barack Obama, in a special letter written for the occasion of the opening ceremony of the exhibition, wrote: "These remarkable images of camp art provide a unique glimpse into one of the darkest periods in our past, and remind us all of the sacred responsibility we share today to oppose all forms of injustice and intolerance wherever they exist.”
Opening the exhibition, the director of the Auschwitz Museum, Dr Piotr M.A. Cywiński, said: “The authors of these works of art risked their own lives, so that we, through their work, know the truth about Auschwitz. Now it's our turn to take responsibility for the future of this world — a world free of anti-Semitism, racism, hatred and genocide.”
Rabbi Felipe Goodman of Beth Sholom, in welcoming the numerous guests, underlined that through this art, we can learn a lesson that we have not yet learned about the Shoah.
The exhibition presents works of art made illegally in the camp. These are drawings documenting the reality of the camp, but also examples of art being an escape from the cruel reality. Among these, works can be found by Zofia Stępień, Halina Ołomucka, Józef Szajna, Franciszek Jaźwiecki, Włodzimierz Siwierski, Mieczysław Kościelniak, Peter Edel, Josef Sapcaru and others, including prisoners whose names and surnames are not always known. Enlarged and backlit photographic reproductions have been placed in specially designed wooden exhibition panes, which relate to the architecture of barracks. Each work is accompanied by historical commentary and relating archival fragments.
The exhibition has already been presented in Orchard Lake, Michigan, at Wayne State University in Detroit, at the Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and in Los Angeles at UCLA. Its tour of the United States has been carried out with the help of the Polish Mission of Orchard Lake.