Holocaust Education Week Lecture, Art Exhibit, and Artists’ Talk – Sunday November 7th, 2pm, Pier 21 (Halifax) & Live-Streamed


Event Details


Sunday, November 7 | 2PM | Rowe Hall, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

This program will be live-streamed (not recorded) for those who want to join us virtually. Registration required.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Erica Lehrer, Concordia University, Professor, Departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology. Dr. Erica Lehrer is the author of Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places (2013); and co-editor of Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions (2016); Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland (2015); and Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (2011). In 2013 she curated the exhibit Souvenir, Talisman, Toy at the Kraków Ethnographic Museum (MEK) in Poland, and in 2014 published the accompanying book Lucky Jews. Most recent work includes the collaborative project Awkward Objects of Genocide, which resulted in the exhibition Terribly Close: Polish Vernacular Artists Face the Holocaust at MEK in 2018-19.

Keynote Speech: Terribly Close: Polish “Folk Art” as Holocaust Witness?

Can inanimate objects store and communicate traumatic memory that cannot be directly expressed? This talk examines “folk art” made by non-professional Polish artists – most of them village labourers – documenting the German Nazi occupation of Poland and the Holocaust.

Made largely in the 1960s and 70s, these objects are uncanny: at times deeply moving, at others grotesque, they can also be disturbing for the ways they impose Catholic idioms on Jewish suffering, or upend accepted roles of victim, perpetrator, and bystander. Cultural anthropologist and curator Erica Lehrer describes her collaboration with Polish researchers to explore the motivations, uses, and ethical implications of these works, asking whether we might view them as legitimate “arts of witness,” and discussing the significance of curating difficult knowledge in Polish museums today.

Art Exhibit & Artists’ Talk: All Flesh is Grass: A Multidirectional-Post-Memorial

Canadian artists Angela Henderson and Solomon Nagler continue their collaboration with Polish artists Alexandra Janusz and Aleksander Schwarz to present a site-specific performance/intervention that maps the untold histories and unmarked graves of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in an architectural space within sight of Elpaqkwitk (Georges Island). With these works, they continue their artistic research with experimental mapping of these landscapes in Eastern Poland through performance, photography and sculptural artworks. At Pier 21, their work intervenes in a national museum that memorializes settler immigration on Turtle Island. This work on the Shoah is contextualized within a space of difficult history in Miꞌkmaꞌki.

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