The inaugural exhibition, Survivors, is dedicated to the experiences of Holocaust survivors living in Northeast Florida. More than 70 years after the events that indelibly marked their lives, artist Ingrid Damiani photographed 12 survivors and their families in the places that mean the most to them.
These visual documents express the powerful legacy of their survival. The infinite ripples across the generations are seen through images of shared meals, the embrace of grandchildren, the deep love between lifelong partners, the sharing of stories, the symbolic importance of saved objects, the joy of laughter between friends, and love in all its forms. This exhibition is for the survivors, their families, and for all of us who are asked not to forget.
SURVIVORS originally exhibited from the opening of the Frisch Family Holocaust Memorial Gallery through February 2019.
Ingrid Damiani: Artist Statement
“I worked so hard to stay alive as a child–my grandmother and mother fought so hard for me to survive,” Bob Fischer told me when I asked him how he was able to exude such joy. “Why would I waste a moment being bitter?” I encountered this positive outlook on life time after time as I met with local Holocaust survivors and their families.
I entered homes that reflected the joyful people inside of them— beautiful, rich colors and décor, walls lined with family photographs. Delicious meals and treats and coffee. These survivors were infants and children during the Holocaust. They treasure the few heirlooms that were rescued—the one remaining family photograph or a father’s ring saved by neighbors and retrieved after the war. My time with the survivors was spent poring over these precious mementos as they shared the joy of their love stories and the sorrow of their memories of the Holocaust. They dearly want the truth of history to be told and remembered, but each equally embraces living fully as a way of honoring life and the lives of loved ones lost in the Holocaust.
Their stories, the horrible and the joyful, live side-by-side in them and the families they created.
On behalf of the entire community, we thank the Frisch Family for their generosity in making this memorial gallery a reality for the people of Northeast Florida.