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EVOCATION

Evocation: the act of bringing or recalling a feeling, memory, or image to the conscious mind.

      “This is sublime. Your piece is so artfully conceived, intimate and majestic at the same time."
                                                                                      ~ Phil Baron

EVOCATION was part of the exhibition, Sanctuary of the Aftermath, held at Angels Gate Cultural Center curated by Jason Jenn and Vojislav Radovanović.


A BIT OF HISTORY…

The impulse for this installation and video materialized over several decades. It began with the first roses I saved—a red bouquet from my parents for the opening of my first photography exhibit. Many more bouquets of love were dried and kept in a basket. Eventually, I had to get a much bigger basket. 

Over 20 years ago, I saved some small vials—just because they were wonderful. Several years later I bought two printer’s drawers in a thrift store. They reminded me of my uncle who had been a printer in Europe before WWII. My mother told me that my uncle’s first wife and children were murdered in a concentration camp, but his life was spared because he was a printer and could be put to work. I kept the drawers.


Photo credit (installation & landing page): Orit Harpaz

I’d think about those vials, I’d see the printer’s drawers. Ideas and images whispered in my mind—about placing vials in the small compartments of the drawers, about creating a piece in remembrance of my family murdered in the Holocaust during WW II. But what goes into those vials? I had no answer. And I wasn’t ready to dive into that difficult topic—too much pain in that past, as well as in my own life.

In 2013 I moved back into my parents’ house in Los Angeles and took care of my 97-year-old father. My mother and sister had passed on, so I was his touchstone for many years. He had just undergone a traumatic experience that altered him completely. It was a painful time. 

What brought me solace, joy, and a sense of renewal were the eleven rose bushes in my mother’s garden. I tended them and they were stunning—each with a unique and beautiful scent. I could see the bushes outside my windows as I painted. But I wanted them inside to smell and touch as I walked through the house. It’s what made the days bearable, what sustained me during this tragic time. So many roses blooming at once! I would fill vases with different colors: red, yellow, white, peach, and lavender. Once dried, I put them in grocery bags and stored them. I was infatuated. 

My father passed on in August 2014. I continued to save the rose petals. Sometime during those years, my answer arrived: the dried rose petals would go into the vials and would also be strung as rose garlands—visceral metaphors for love, devotion, celebration, joy, and tragic loss. 

I began to create the installation in the summer of 2020 and almost immediately recognized that even as EVOCATION memorializes my family and all those lives cut short by the Holocaust, I was living through an unprecedented global catastrophe. The world had already lost millions of precious souls to the pandemic—a tragedy of epic proportion. I affirmed the power of Love as I filled each vial with crushed rose petals and strung each petal on its thread, in dedication and remembrance of them. 

This memorial includes a video elegy—a documentation of hundreds of rose petals cast into the ocean waves with love and joy en route to their transformative journey. Jason Jenn and Vojislav Radovanović filmed and edited the ceremony with skill and grace. Crashing waves and bird calls overhead were the sounds of the afternoon, however, the L.A. Choral Lab’s lamenting chant of the Jewish Mourner’s Kaddish became the musical score.  

My hope is this memorial will bring some solace and peace to our world. 

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This Website Supports Augmented Reality to Live Preview Art

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To use this feature, Just look for the "Live Preview AR" button when viewing any piece of art on this website!

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