Telling the stories of Holocaust survivors through art and photos

Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 4, 2013

Walter Black hangs pieces from the ‘Darkness into Light’ exhibit at the Johnson Center in Troy on Friday.

The stories of Holocaust survivors who now live in Alabama will be the focus of the “Darkness Into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art” exhibition that opens at the Johnson Center for the Arts in downtown Troy on Wednesday.

Morgan Drinkard, Center director, said the exhibition is on loan from the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and will be on display through Feb. 27.

“‘Darkness into Life’ tells the stories of 20 Holocaust survivors who lived through the terrible darkness of the Holocaust to lead successful lives in Alabama,” Drinkard said. “These Holocaust survivors embraced and enriched their new homes.”

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Drinkard said the paintings and photographs are bold, thought provoking and heartwarming.

“They are accompanied by text panels that tell the stories shared by the survivors,” she said. “Through this exhibit, we learn more about the history of the Holocaust and its impact on the survivors who have made Alabama their home.”

Drinkard said the survivors’ stories are very personal and will bring into greater focus what they had to endure.

The exhibit includes narratives, a video of the survivors telling their stories, maps showing the locations of the concentration camps and a few documents. The biographical videos will run continuously on a TV screen.

“The video, the stories, the photographs and the paintings combine to tell a powerful story of the will to survive and to move out of the darkness and back into life,” Drinkard said.

The Johnson Center for the Arts will host an exhibition reception from 5 until 7 p.m. on Jan. 22 that will feature a lecture by Sandra Roberts from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.

“Sandra Roberts’ lecture will help us grasp the number of people who are affected by the Holocaust,” Drinkard said. “Through the lecture, we will learn more about how the people were affected and gain a greater understanding of what happened during the Holocaust.”

Drinkard express appreciation to Troy University and Dr. Maryjo Cochran, dean of Troy University’s College of Communication and Fine Art, for including the Johnson Center in the university’s Year of Holocaust Remembrance.

“Dr. Cochran scheduled the ‘Darkness into Life’ exhibit to travel to the Troy University campuses in Montgomery, Dothan and Troy,” Drinkard said. “The Johnson Center is the host gallery for the Troy location. We are honored to be have the opportunity to help bring this exhibit to Troy.

“The exhibit teaches the history of the Holocaust and offers others the opportunity to better understand its impact on 20 Alabama individuals and their families and helps put a local perspective on the Holocaust.”

The “Darkness into Life” exhibit is on display in the lower level gallery of the Johnson Center at 300 East Walnut Street in downtown Troy. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Johnson Center for the Arts is open to the public and admission is free.