Holocaust exhibit on display at art center

by Linda Jo Scott
Battle Creek Enquirer, April 15, 2007

When Miriam Brysk was toddler in Warsaw in the 1930’s her whole world exploded. As the tide of anti-Semitism rose, she and her parents fled Poland after the Nazi invasion. They settled in Belarus, where they thought it would be safe, but ended up in the Lida Ghetto.

Her family survived the ghetto massacre of 1942. They managed to escape and join the Russian resistance movement. Now 72, Brysk is creating unforgettable works of art to make sure the memory of the Holocaust lives on. She also published in January her memoir, “Amidst the Shadows of Trees”.

To complement Monday’s lecture by Holocaust survivor Gerta Wasserman Klein, Brysk has this month brought her latest exhibit to the Art Center of Battle Creek. The 33 original mixed media works are titled, “In a Confined Silence” For years Brysk had asked the inevitable questions, “Why me when 6 million Jews died?” She had come to realize that it is more important to live life than to question it.”

Brysk came to Battle Creek in the Fall of 2005. She was one of five panelists in a discussion held in conjunction with “Life in the Shadows: Hidden children and the Holocaust” exhibit at the Battle Creek Art Center. She also exhibited some of her work at the Kellogg foundation.

“This exhibit will give the community to see her work. Her presentation is different this time, even more powerful, adding a different dimension to the whole event. Brysk gas developed a unique style of creating Holocaust art, using authentic black and white photographs of her family and others.

Brysk stresses, she has no formal artistic training.

“It all comes from my soul,” she said

Brysk is a retired professor from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

But as Brysk sees it, her work in science has served her well for her artwork. What she did in laboratories, as well as what she has done with various media, has been experimental.

The grandmother of five has her life freed-up to do Holocaust art in retirement. As she explains it, she wants people to realize not only that 6 million Jews died, but each was a real person.

“They died one plus one,” she said, one by one.

“I don’t want to sensationalize those deaths,” she said. “I want to give their lives meaning. And for myself, I want to live the kind of life those who died, would have wanted to live.”