Ohavi Zedek Synagogue and the Mural Project Team were thrilled to welcome renowned painter Samuel Bak to the mural last month. Bak, who was born in Vilna, and as a boy survived the Vilna Ghetto,is today widely considered the foremost interpreter of Holocaust memory in painting. His work over many decades has evolved to grapple with the theme of traumatic and fragmentary memory, and the contemporary significance of memory fragments. Bak reacted strongly to seeing the mural. during his hour long visit he remarked “When I saw it I was very moved, and I was moved by how much this thing has suffered ..because I think the usually objects that suffer or people who suffer are much more interesting.”
Bak also told that he had relatives in Kovno (Kaunus) home of mural painter Ben Zion Black. Like Black, one uncle even played in a mandolin orchestra. Sam Bak sat for an interview with art historian Sam Gruber about his work, and art and historical themes that touch upon the history and meaning of the mural. The interview will be posted soon, stay tuned!