January 2015 – Art: an act of remembrance

by Geoff Hall on January 29, 2015

January 2015 – Art: An act of remembrance

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.

 

 

 

January has been a month of remembrance, with Holocaust Memorial Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

For my part, I sat and watched the documentary on Bernstein and Hitchcock’s documentary about the ‘Liberation’ on Channel 4

‘Holocaust: Night Will Fall’ and then on the Beeb saw the Memorial Service from Westminster at the Methodist Central Hall.

There were profoundly moving testimonies from survivors and at one point someone read out the words of this piece of graffiti  on the cellar wall of a building in Cologne, written by a Jew hiding from the Gestapo.

 

I believe in the sun even when it doesn’t shine

I believe in love even when feeling it not

I believe in God even when He is silent

 

Concentration Camp Electrocution

Concentration Camp Electrocution

In these days of violence, it seems even more that we need to remember the sun, love and God; we need to remember our common humanity in a world that appears to desensitise us from those such things. The brutality and inhumanity of Auschwitz is remembered, but it would appear that we learn little from it, as such inhumanity is revisited in human trafficking, acts of terrorism and yes, still, the scourge of anti-Semitism.

 

 

And what has this to do with an Arts Mentoring Group? Well, I want us to consider that we as artists and our work, are acts of remembrance; of the sun, love and God. Acts of Remembrance are costly, as the survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau will tell you. And whilst our lives as artists endure days when the sun is not shining, or love is not felt, or that God is silent still; we decide to persevere, to not give up but to consider that without the remembrance of those things people will forget them, take them for granted and revisit the horrors of those days past, when the sun was obscured by smoke from the Crematoria of KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau.

What is needed more than ever today, is an art which can cope with the depths of suffering inhumanity; God isn’t sugar-coated, and our work as artists shouldn’t be inspired by saccharined platitudes or judgments.

As a writer and sometimes filmmaker, I have decided to dedicate the rest of my ‘working life’ to the act of remembrance; to speak out about injustice and inhumanity, to image lives pursuing justice even in the face of a silent God, to understand that we are a ray of light which pierces the darkness of this world .

Be well…and remember,

Geoffx

rp_Holocaust-Girl.jpg

“Holocaust Memorial, Berlin.” Copyright, Geoff Hall 2008.

 

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