Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Through the Eye of the Needle: Fabric of Survival--An Exhibition of the Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz, along with her sister Mania, were the only members of their family, and among the few Jews in their Polish village, to survive the Holocaust. At the age of fifteen, Esther refused the Nazi order for the Jews to report to a nearby railroad station for relocation. She and her sister separated from their family and never saw them again.

In 1977, at the age of fifty, Esther began creating works of fabric art to depict her stories of survival. Trained as a dressmaker but untrained in art, she created a collection of thirty-six needlework and fabric collage pictures in strong, vivid colors and striking details with a sense of folk-like realism. Meticulously stitched words beneath the pictures provide a narrative. While the pictures are visually pleasing, almost cheerful, a closer examination reveals the stark incongruity between the pastoral surroundings and the human violence, terror and betrayal that are their subjects.

Bernice Steinhardt and Helene McQuade, Esther's two daughters, have honored their mother's life and memory by creating a website called Art & Remembrance, which is designed to help combat racism and social injustice. The Museum of Family History proudly presents all three dozen of Esther's works, replete with Esther's own words as well as sound narrations provided by her daughters.

In addition to this gallery of Esther's works, you will also find within the Museum's Education and Research Center an educational aspect of her exhibition. The introduction to the educational aspect of the exhibition is presented to you by the Museum, with links provided to their Art & Remembrance website that are necessary to fully partake in this exercise, including a thirteen-minute interview with Esther who talks about her life in her hometown in Poland.

This exhibition, along with that of artists Mayer Kirshenblatt and Martin Kieselstein, join the exhibition of renown artist Max Weber under the umbrella of "Reflections of Memory: Jewish Expression Through Art," which in every case will display the products of creativity and thought based on the author's experience, whether it be for instance from the experience of living in a small town in pre-war Europe or by surviving the Holocaust.

You can see the introduction to the "Reflections of Memory" exhibition by visiting www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/rom.htm . Just visit the Table of Contents for the links to each of the four exhibitions.

Exhibition of Esther's work: www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/ce/krinitz/krinitz.htm
Educational activity: www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/ce/krinitz/erc-krinitz.htm

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