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A MULTI CULTURAL ART PROJECT

ART


In my painting "The Message" I tried to express how messages, any kind of message, can threaten or change our lives in a single minute. By painting a couple wrapped up in large or small envelopes held by strange characters, empty clothes almost flying over their heads, I wanted to paint the constant menace that sorrounds individuals as well as family groups, when they are living under repressive regimes.

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"The Message"
Series: "Surviving Genocide"

Argentina shares with many Latin American countries a history of repression and silence. For many years the cruelest chapters of its history were erased. No names of the massacred people remain, no markers at the places where they were buried. The military forces took good care to hide information, delete any trace of their crimes, and avoid any attempt at criticism or judgement of their actions. Silence, impunity, the lack of punishment of those who committed such atrocities allowed similar episodes to happen again and again.

Between 1976 and 1983, tens of thousands of people "disappeared" in Argentina in the name of national security, blamed for conspiring against the "Western and Christian way of life." Secret and open impresonment, disappearances, torture, and murders committed by the military dictatorschip to eliminate their political opposition became the tools to fight against different ideas and beliefs. More than 300 secret detention centers were operating throughout Argentina during the years of military rule. In these concentration centers the military government held around 30.000 people in inhumane conditions, depriving them of all comunication with their families. Most victims were young adults and adolescents.

Not only political dissidents were kidnaped but also anybody suspected of "treatening state security": students, journalists, social reformers, human rights activists, and often times their spouses, family, or friends.
Most of then were physically and mentally tortured and eventually murdered.



Dismembering or annihilating families was one of the Argentinean dictatorship's goals. By painting "Fragments" I wanted to express how the methodology of state terrorism
broke down my family as well as all those thousands of families who endured a similar fate.

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"Silent Witnesses"
Series: "Surviving Genocide"


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Anne Frank, in her book "The Diary of a Young Girl" wrote: "I simply can't imagine that the world will ever be normal for us again." She was forteen and, this was more than a year after getting the message that would break her life.

In 1942 she was living with her parents and sister in a Holland full of restrictions for the Jewish people, when the SS sent a call-up notice to her father. Anne already knew what a call-up meant: to be sent to a concentration camp. While she, her family, and some friends were hidden from the Nazis in their "Secret Annex" for two years, she felt "in a little piece of blue heaven, sorrounded by heavy black rain clouds." In spite of her courage and hopes to became a journalist, she could not avoid panic when she envisioned that the circle between them and danger was closing up. She died in 1945 during an Aushwitz death march, four days before the liberation.

Anne Frank is remembered as a symbol of lost possibilities. There were thousands of young people in Germany as well as in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, and other countries, who could neither fulfill their dreams, nor their right to live, due to genocide. Most of the victims never got a chance to speak.

However, some of them wrote diaries and poems, or painted and drew, to vent their daily torments. Anne's diary and all those writings and art works, oftentimes anonymous, became genocide survivors. My painting "Silent Witnesses" is about those silent yet precious and powerful testimonies
















"Rebirth" is a triptych related to the children who survived the Holocaust: In spite of such a tragedy I wanted to express hope; in spite of the Nazi's desire to eliminate an entire race, those children would generate life.

"Rebirth: From the Ashes" shows two boys playing in the bare ground of a ghetto and wearing yellow stars. A girl is playing her fiddle for coins to get some bread, while another child is wrapped in rags to protect himself from the cold. From the chimneys, instead of ashes birds are rising, as a symbol of the return of life.

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ANTI-SEMITISM IN ARGENTINA

Like most of the population in Argentina, the victims were first and second-generation European immigrants from different countries: Spain, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, France, and others. They were Catholics, atheists, Jehovah's
Witnesses, and Jews.
The idea of the torturers was to exterminate the victims by destroying everything, their beliefs, their dreams, their families, their bodies. Unlike the Jewish Holocaust, the Argentine genocide was not an attempt to eliminate a race. However if the victim was a Jew, the cruelty of the soldiers and the torturers became even worse. Testimonies from Jewish and non-Jewish survivors presented before the law in the case titled "Terrorismo y Genocidio-Juzgado Central de Intruccion numero cinco-Audiencia Nacional-Madrid" (Terrorism and Genocide - Central Courtroom Number Five -National Audience - Madrid") tell in detail how the rage of the torturers increased when the prisioner was a Jew. There were more than 2000 Jewish victims during Argentina military rule.

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LINKS

A HOLOCAUST ART EXHIBIT

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A VIRTUAL MEMORIAL

GHETTO ARTISTS

GIDEON Holocaust Collection

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