The Holocaust Council is proud to announce a brand-new exhibit, 18 Portraits: The Life and Afterlife of Elie Wiesel in the Gaelen Gallery West at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany.
“The Holocaust Council, always on the cutting-edge of Holocaust education, is privileged to curate this exhibit of a series of paintings by prize-winning artist Meyer Uranovsky,” said Holocaust Council director Barbara Wind. “The exhibit will include artifacts, videos, and an opening reception on October 10 with the artist and Ted Comet, honorary executive director of the Joint Distribution Committee, who enjoyed a 70-year friendship with the late, great Nobel Laureate and humanitarian.”
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Holocaust Council will also host a community reading of Wiesel’s masterpiece, Night, along with a panel-led discussion on Sunday, November 4 at 1 p.m. Schools, libraries, houses of worship, civic clubs, and individuals are invited to participate. Panelists will include Joseph Berger, a former New York Times journalist, the author of several books, and currently writing a biography of Elie Wiesel; Dr. Adara Goldberg, the executive director of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University; Robert Lichtman, Federation’s Chief Jewish Learning Officer; and Dr. Harriet Sepinwall, College of St. Elizabeth professor emerita and the founder and facilitator of the college’s annual Kristallnacht Commemoration.
Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a teen, where he endured extreme humiliation, deprivation and brutalization, as well as the loss of his family. Afterward, he documented his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith in the 40 books he wrote. Night, which is used worldwide to teach about the Holocaust, is among the most personal, intimate, and poignant of all accounts of the atrocities suffered. Through a combination of talent, intelligence, and charisma, Elie Wiesel became the iconic Holocaust survivor and spokesman for all who suffered in the Holocaust. Yet he did not concern himself only with the Shoah and Jews. He used his public persona to speak out against contemporary injustices around the world.
“After finishing the first painting of Elie Wiesel, I felt there was much more to tell,” said the artist, Meyer Uranovsky. “This man survived the horror of the Holocaust, survived the darkness of the Night. He chose not to carry the darkness into the breaking Dawn, nor into the Day. He chose to be a beacon of strength, of hope gained through gritted teeth. As both survivor and spokesperson for all those who perished in the flames of hatred, I felt he deserved more.
“One painting was not enough. So I painted a second and a third, until at some point there were 18…” he continued. “From the beginning, I had wanted the paintings to be a living memorial to the six million victims of the Holocaust, with Elie Wiesel as the articulate embodiment of the Jewish people, my people.”
Born in 1939 to Russian emigre parents, Meyer Uranovsky studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT). Influenced by German Expressionism, his first one-man show opened to rave reviews, and was sold out within a week. Other equally successful shows followed, and he won numerous prizes and awards, including a postgraduate bursary to study at Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. He has been living and working in New York City since 1996, where he has shown at several galleries, and has also exhibited his work in Paris at the Galerie Celal, and in Cape Town at the Die Kunskamer. In August 2006, Uranovsky was honored by the Bronx Borough President for his contribution to the art and culture of The City of New York, and The Bronx in particular.
18 Portraits: The Life and Afterlife of Elie Wiesel will be on display from October 9 through November 12 at the Gaelen Gallery West, Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, 901 Route 10, Whippany. All are welcome to attend the free opening reception on Wednesday, October 10 at 7 p.m. with Meyer Uranovsky and Ted Comet. All are also welcome to attend the Community Reading of Night and panel-led discussion on Sunday, November 4 at 1 p.m. Free docent-led tours will be available for groups and schools. For more information or to rsvp to the events, contact the Holocaust Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 929-3194.