Her “MOTHER-SURVIVOR” Series
Lea Weinberg is an Israeli-born and raised sculptor now living in White Plains, New York. She has had numerous exhibitions world-wide including a solo show at The Kanner-Kurzon Museum, Beth El Synagogue Center, New Rochelle, NY. Her next solo show MOTHER-SURVIVOR: PERSONAL HISTORY will be held at Manhattanville College. Her important series is in honor of her mother as a survivor of the Holocaust and the family members who did not survive. She explains, “along with a lot of tears and many written pages, I brought my mother and her stories to life through the healing power of art, same as she brought to life the memory of her lost family through endless stories.”
Lea has received many accolades including a few top awards from Manhattan Arts International. Her works can be found at Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY and in many private and public collections. I am honored to share her story and her compelling works of art as part of our “Artists’ Stories” series. ~ Renée Phillips
Article by Lea Weinberg
As an Artist Sculptor I feel it is my obligation to present a visual message preserving the stories I have personally heard.
My Childhood “Fairy Tales” were my mother’s nostalgic stories about her childhood before World War II. Growing up I realized all the family members from her stories didn’t survive, it gave me a painful feeling of loss, I already knew them from my mother’s vivid stories that brought them to life.
I was born and raised in Israel where the Holocaust Memorial Day “Yom AhShoah” starts with a siren all over the country, everybody is standing silent for a meaningful moment; I always closed my eyes visioning the heartbreaking moment of my mother separating from her mother and her 2 younger sisters… later I commemorated this image into a wire mesh relief: “The Separation”. When I asked my mother: “How can you be so optimistic after losing your family in the Holocaust?” she replied: “The Evil has already happened, from now on Life should be Good.”
My parents’ healing was building a new life in a new country raising a family of three daughters – along with remembering those who didn’t survive.
The urge of dealing with the Holocaust through my art was in my heart, but since my mother’s passing in January 2012 I started working on my project installation MOTHER-SURVIVOR. I am not describing how it was there. I am expressing my mother’s journey through intuitive emotional interpretations and symbols using humble materials with a lot of essence.
Dealing with my mother’s memory and experiences was not easy, but was a healing process that brought me even closer to her, along with a lot of tears and many written pages, I brought my mother and her stories to life through the healing power of art, same as she brought to life the memory of her lost family through endless stories.
My main inspiration is the story of how my mother, at 18, while sorting clothes of the victims in Auschwitz-Birkenau, came upon eight photographs of her lost family, and was hiding them inside bread.
Each memory became a contemporary artwork and two years later it developed into a solo exhibit of six series Installation “MOTHER-SURVIVOR in memory of my mother and many others”, in 2014 at the Kanner-kurzon Museum, Beth El Center, New Rochelle, NY. I invited High School students to the exhibit space, their heartwarming letters encouraged me to continue interacting with students. Since then I have been creating more works such as: “Hanger’s Obsession”, “Memory Mobile”, “Addressing Survival” among others.
These works will be presented in my next one-person exhibition/installation: “MOTHER-SURVIVOR: PERSONAL HISTORY at the Arthur M. Art Gallery, Manhattanville College, in Purchase, NY, January 23 -February 24, 2018.
My works have a double meaning coming from past events connecting to the present and future. My mother’s personal story intertwined with the tragedy of human history, wrapped with her optimistic spirit and a lot of hope for a better future. My goal is to evoke public awareness for future generations, while Holocaust denials and genocides still persist.
A Mother-Daughter emotional connection is inseparable from before the daughter’s birth and after the mother’s last breath on earth. Here, my mother’s body is empty and ethereal as the wire mesh material and her family surrounds her; A male figure holds my mother from the back (my father, who passed away before, pulls her towards him), a lying figure is mourning (as my mother was very sick). The red image is me – wanting to be back inside my mother’s womb, refusing to let her go.
Red color for me is the energy of birth, life and pain. Expressing my feelings through art was very positive for me; after completing Inseparable, my spirit was lifted by realizing that spiritually my mother will always be a part of me.
Visit Lea Weinberg’s website at www.leaw-sculptor.com