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  Cape Town Holocaust Centre > Events > Past Events > Absence and Loss


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Absence and Loss: an Exhibition of Photographs at the Holocaust Centre
14 December 2007- 14 January 2008 10am-5pm Sun-Thurs, 10am-1pm Fri

'Absence and Loss' focuses on the remarkable number of Holocaust memorials in Berlin; on the sculptures, art installations, unusual plaques and signs that can be found in public places. Juxtaposing images and text, it reveals the destructive impact of the Nazis on the daily life of German Jews and other minorities, and the void left in post-war Germany by their annihilation and emigration. Protest and resistance are also featured both through portraits and memorials.

The exhibition aims to present an impression of the period, demonstrate man's inhumanity to man and encourage reflection on current issues of racism and extremism.

'Absence and Loss' represents a restrained and yet powerful and innovative approach to the theme of Holocaust remembrance and memorialisation. It comprises a personal and focused photographic journey into the total disruption of the Holocaust on the lives of all those who did not fit into Hitler's vision. It uniquely explores how Germany, in a variety of ways, is trying both to confront and deal with the consequences of its past, and understand and acknowledge the loss of a vibrant part of its population and culture.

The images are divided into 6 sections with all images accompanied by text, which Sir Martin Gilbert kindly reviewed, explaining the historical background of the images. The exhibition moves the reader between the past and the present and compels viewers to consider, in a universal way, the issues of racism and extremism.

The exhibition was first shown, by invitation, in Michaelhouse, Cambridge in January 2006 in association with Holocaust Memorial Day. It is currently at Beth Shalom, Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre in Nottinghamshire. It will then move to the Jewish Museum in Manchester. There has been wide interest in the project both from Christian and Jewish organisations in England and abroad.

Using memorials, studio shots and portraiture the 'story' of persecution and its consequences is told. All the photos have been taken with black and white film. The images have been printed using Lith developer adding a distinctive and intense texture and tone to complement the subject matter.

Marion Davies (B Soc. Sc. Hons, 1970, BTEC HNC Photography, 2005), an award-winning fine art photographer, lives and works in London. She specialises in printing techniques that create distinctive images with enhanced texture and tone from black and white. Marion Davies has won a number of awards for her photographs, such as the London Evening Standard/ Canon Spirit of London Competition, and has exhibited widely in many different venues.

What people have said

'It is a magnificent exhibition. The photographs are superb. The immense cruelty and suffering inflicted upon millions of innocent Jews and other minorities eludes imagination and Marion's contribution helps to cultivate a sense of responsibility so that this does not happen again.'
Dr Margie Tolstoy, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge

'At a time when the Holocaust is becoming a distant event, Marion's photographs remind us of the stark effects of prejudice, of how the urge to assert the rights of one group over and above those of any other can lead rapidly to mass murder. Through photographing memorials on the streets of Berlin, she has reclaimed the immediacy of the historical moment, made Berlin here and now. The careful choice of each location particularises a stage in Marion's very personal journey each image compels our attention so that her journey becomes inevitably, our own.'
Jane Liddell-King, poet and playwright

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