Message in a Bottle

A maritime miniaturist depicts Jewish struggles

Sixty years after the Holocaust, virtually no artistic medium remains unmarked by it in some way. And this is especially true now that maritime miniaturist Burton D. Reckles has created an exhibit of dioramas for Holocaust Museum Houston. Reckles's eight-piece collection "Antisemitism: Exodus to the Holocaust" recreates Jewish history, from the Diaspora to the Holocaust to modern-day events.

Reckles's exploration of his own Jewish heritage led him to build one of the miniatures. "Jews' House" depicts a real-life encounter Reckles and his family had with a Polish man inhabiting a house where Jews had buried their valuables before Nazis imprisoned them. Other pieces, though less personal, are no less striking. "Crystal Night," contained within a pocket watch, depicts the infamous Kristallnacht -- the night of broken glass directly preceding the Holocaust.

His models may be timeless, but his message is urgent. Says Reckles: "Since so few people are [making miniatures], I wanted to address the Holocaust in my work before the medium and memories begin to fade completely."
July 13-Sept. 17

 
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