Wiener Library art exhibition brings survivors Into the Light

11 Mar 2015

An inspiring new art exhibition is on show at The Weiner Library by Holocaust survivors and refugees from Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre (HSC).

Holocaust Survivors' Centre Exhibition at the Wiener Library. A painting by Renie Inow.

The collection, entitled Into the Light, The Joy of Painting, has been created by the weekly art group at the Centre who have focussed on everyday experiences, using plenty of light and colour to provide powerful relief and comfort from their past traumas.

Art teacher and London-based artist Barbara Jackson, who has exhibited her own works both in the UK and internationally, has worked with the group of artists at the Holocaust Survivors' Centre to form the collection that is on show. She is an experienced teacher admired and adored by members of the art group.

Barbara focuses the group on enjoying art, while not turning it into therapy. She explains:

“It’s not meant to be a therapy group, it’s just the act of doing art together that’s very therapeutic in itself.”

The Holocaust is almost indiscernible in the exhibition, but art itself helps the members to appreciate bright perspectives and to bring comfort into their lives. The members’ work is a mix of genres including life drawing, still life and landscapes, and is a reflection of this group of individuals bound together through shared experiences.

Aviva Trup, Manager at the Holocaust Survivors' Centre says,

“This exhibition is a real celebration of life and the talent of the artists in the group. It’s a joy to see their work at The Wiener Library, whom we have partnered with to create this positive exhibition. The art group is so important to its members, both as a form of self-expression and as a space for survivors and refugees to be able to connect with each other on another level.”

One of the artists, Renie Inow, arrived in England from Germany on the Kindertransport just before the start of World War II. Renie worked for the Jewish Agency and a housing association before retirement and joined the art group in 1993 when it first started. She enjoys the social aspect of the class and has built a strong relationship with teacher, Barbara Jackson. Renie describes the art class as a place where, for the first time in her life, she can be ‘herself’ in a group of people. She says,

“It was my parents who gave me and my siblings a love of nature and most of my paintings have trees in them which symbolise stability and life.”

Fellow HSC and art group member, Huguette Cukier, comes to the art group especially to enjoy the company of the other artists and their teacher. Huguette says,

"If you want to be happy, you have to surround yourself with people you like."

Into the Light, The Joy of Painting is showing until 10 April at The Wiener Library,

Address: 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Open Monday - Friday, 10.00am – 5.00pm.

Admission free.

For more information call 020 7636 7247 or email wl@jcare.org

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