THE HOLOCAUST COUNCIL of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ presents “18 Portraits: The Life and Afterlife of Elie Wiesel” from Oct. 9 to Nov. 12. The series of portraits are by artist Meyer Uranovsky.
“The exhibit will include artifacts, videos, and an opening reception on Oct. 10 with the artist and Ted Comet, honorary executive director of the [American Jewish] Joint Distribution Committee, who enjoyed a 70-year friendship with the late, great Nobel Laureate and humanitarian,” said Holocaust Council director Barbara Wind.
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.
“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,” said artist Uranovsky, who started with one portrait and continued until he completed 18.
“After finishing the first painting of Elie Wiesel, I felt there was much more to tell,” he said. “This man survived the horror of the Holocaust, survived the darkness of the night…. As both survivor and spokesperson for all those who perished in the flames of hatred, I felt he deserved more.”
Born in 1939 to Russian emigre parents, Uranovsky studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT). He has 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.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Holocaust Council will also host a community reading of Wiesel’s “Night” along with a panel-led discussion on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m. Panelists will include Joseph Berger, a former New York Times journalist and the author of several books who is writing a biography of Elie Wiesel; Dr. Adara Goldberg, executive director of the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University; Robert Lichtman, the federation’s Chief Jewish Learning Officer; and Dr. Harriet Sepinwall, College of St. Elizabeth professor emerita and founder and facilitator of the college’s annual Kristallnacht Commemoration.
“18 Portraits: The Life and Afterlife of Elie Wiesel” will be on display in the Gaelen Gallery West at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany. Free docent-led tours are available for groups and schools.
To RSVP to the free opening reception on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. or for more information about upcoming programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-929-3194.