Report | Conference on street art experiences and the Holocaust

The conference and dialogue “Urban art and the Holocaust” gathered 43 participants at La Model Memory site on January 26, 2023. The art curator and former director of the Israeli Cultural Institute in Budapest, Vered Glickman, delivered a presentation about the new exhibition she is preparing for 2024, “Street, Art & Holocaust Remembrance”. She was introduced by the EUROM director, Jordi Guixé. After her talk, the professor of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Núria Ricart, and the urban artist Roc Blackblock joined Glickman for a dialogue, followed by an open Q&A session. The audio recording of the activity is published in the form of a podcast in the playlist Holocaust Remembrance. The activity was co-organized by the Council of Democratic Memory of the City Council of Barcelona as part of the official programme for the Holocaust Remembrance week in Catalonia.

Taking as a starting point the protest of an 81 years old survivor of Buchenwald in front of the New York Jewish Museum during the exhibition Mirroring evil. Nazi imagery/Recent art (2002), Vered Glickman started her presentation by recovering a general question on the limits of art as a testimony.  “If we have this question about visual art in general, what about street art?”. Would such art be responsible enough to represent the Holocaust? Could we ask street artists, the majority of whom are still preferred to remain anonymous, to offer their work of art in the cause of remembrance of the Holocaust and raise historical awareness? Can we ask street artists if they would be willing to engage and encourage people to be engaged against any kind of neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic manifestation?

The answer – yes, of course – brought her to propose this exhibition project around the artwork of 10 street artists from Germany, Italy Spain, Poland, Austria, Croatia and the United States. Although they are all working on different forms of representation, from different background and contexts, with different techniques, Glickman concluded that they converge in responding to neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic manifestations, representing the Holocaust victims and documenting their memories and histories, and they are also reflecting on what can be done to avoid repetition.

Until the moment of this presentation, the curatorship for the exhibition “Street, Art & Holocaust Remembrance” had included street artworks by Ibo Omari (The Paintback Initiative), Vered Dror, Akut, Lacuna, Iris Andrasheck, Roc Blackblock (curated by Núria Ricart and Jordi Guixé for the EUROM), Nitzan Mintz, Eron, Nils Westergard, and the project Righteous Among the Nations Global Mural Project (curated by Artists 4 Israel).


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