GARDENS OF MEMORY – An Installation
At the FENTSTER window gallery, 402 College Street (east of Bathurst), Toronto, Ontario, Canada, until October 24, 2019.
The FENTSTER window gallery, curated by Evelyn Tauben, is described as “a window onto Jewish life through art.” Evelyn has put together twelve exhibitions in the approximately four years since she started the project in the front window of the Makom downtown Jewish community centre. The featured artists cover a wide and eclectic range of both media and Jewish interests.
This installation in the front-facing window is comprised of a section of a photograph I made at the back of the Miodowa Street Jewish cemetery in Krakow, Poland, in 2011. The photograph encapsulates both the unusual aesthetic appeal of historic Jewish cemeteries in Poland and other East European countries and the challenges they present both in maintenance of the sites and the preservation of Jewish monuments. The side window contains the full image from Krakow, as well as images of two other Jewish cemeteries, in Warsaw and the town of Ozarow.
I have called these cemeteries both “gardens of memory” and “gardens of history” because each one encapsulates the rich history of their respective communities, tragically destroyed in the Holocaust. The cemeteries themselves were targeted for destruction during both the Nazi and Soviet eras, and only a small percentage have survived with most of their monuments intact.