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“The Memory Project”

For “The Memory Project,” Roz Jacobs painted a series of portraits of her uncle Kalman, working from a photograph of him as a small boy. Kalman had escaped from the Jewish ghetto and was living on a farm in Poland when the Nazis came for his sister and other family members. They were sent to concentration camps, where most of them perished, but Kalman’s sister, the artist’s mother, survived. Not knowing what had become of Kalman haunted her. Was he alive? Where was he living? Was he dead? Where was he buried?

That uncertainty colored the rest of his sister’s life and informed Jacobs’s work in “The Memory Project.” Jacobs paints Kalman’s face over and over in broad strokes, sometimes using more vivid colors, sometimes more muted. Sometimes the face has distinct features; other times his features are only suggested. The effect is mesmerizing; it’s as if Kalman becomes an Everyman, each painting similar and yet different.

Jacobs’s project is part of the exhibit “Fragile Fragments: Expressions of Memory” at the Holocaust Museum Houston, which also features artists Thea Weiss, Ziva Eisenberg and Nancy Patz and author Susan L. Roth. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through June 5. Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit Free.
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 4. Continues through June 5, 2010


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