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Michael Knigin passed away in 2011.
This series of images on canvas/paper or in mural form exists to commemorate both dead and living heroes of the Holocaust. Created by Michael Knigin, this art will be shown in galleries and museums to serve as an ongoing reminder of the past and a step toward building a better future. These works will be available for exhibition and/or sale to Jewish, educational and other organizations, as well as individuals through this website.
In my paintings and graphics, I seek to isolate objects and images from their mundane contexts and reorganize them, thereby granting them a new life. I select colors, textures and forms that complement the realistic images that I use. The elements reinforce the fact that I am creating something new, not merely replicating nature's truths.
My concern with themes of contrast continually runs through my work: Man and nature; human's continual encroachment on the environment; the dehumanization of mankind; the old and new; the classical and the contemporary; the lack of concern with the beautiful and the elegant in our mainstream culture.
It is this dehumanization of mankind that has led to my intense interest in the Holocaust. Since my childhood, I have been aware of the personal liabilities, tolerance and equality of all people being usurped by the "law". Albert Einstein had said in 1944: "The Nazis are the only people who have not made any serious attempt of counteraction leading to the protection of the innocently persecuted. When they are entirely defeated and begin to lament over their fate, we must not let ourselves be deceived again, but keep in mind that they deliberately used humanity of others to make preparation for their last and most grievous crime against humanity".
It has always been my dream to create a series of printed on paper and canvas, paying tribute to the heroes and the victims of the Holocaust. In addition to producing unique single images, I intend to create three portfolios of limited editions. The first group of images will cover the period before the passing of the Nuerenberg Laws in 1935 in Germany, through the freeing of the inmates in the concentrations camps by the American and Russian troops in 1945. The second portfolio will feature images of the Jewish immigration to Palestine prior to, during, and after World War II. This group of images will also deal with the struggle to create the State of Israel and the Nation's trials, tribulations and achievements. The third portfolio will honor Jewish individuals as well as the "Righteous Christians" who risked their lives who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, out of moral conviction. These heroes should be remembered and lauded for their exceptional bravery.
It is a major shock, outrage and surprise to discover that the majority of our generation, children and adults, Jewish and Christian, have little or no knowledge of what transpired during the rise of Hitler, the Nazi regime, and the Holocaust that ensued.
These images that I have created will, hopefully, educate the viewer, making him or her aware of the possibility of repetition of history. By remembering, the present and the future generations will think and act more humanistically and follow the age-old axiom: "Do Unto Others, As You Would Have Them Do Unto You!"
Can art work, interpreting the dark past still reach us in the hustle of our normalized life? I feel that the responsibility of the artist, and of any enlightended human begin, is to continue to make us aware of the past. We can not escape this horrible reality. We have a responsibility to face it and learn it's lessons: "We Will Not Forget"
- Michael Knigin