This moving collaboration between father and daughter is at once a labor of love, a tribute to a distinctive imagination, and a brilliant portrait of life in one Jewish home town. Mayer Kirshenblatt (July), born in Opatów (Apt in Yiddish) in 1916, left a remarkable record in both words and images of Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive boy. He left Poland for Canada in 1934 and taught himself to paint at age 73. Since then, he made it his mission to remember the world of his childhood in living color, “lest future generations know more about how Jews died than how they lived.”
His daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, will present his lively paintings woven together with his stories, based on interviews that she recorded with him for more than 40 years. Together, father and daughter recover a lost world – the streets and courtyards of the town of Apt, witness details of daily life, and meet those who lived and worked there: the pregnant hunchback, who stood under the wedding canopy just hours before giving birth; the kheyder teacher caught in bed with the drummer’s wife; the cobbler’s son, who was dressed in white pajamas all his life to fool the angel of death; the corpse that was shaved; and the couple who held a “black wedding” in the cemetery during a cholera epidemic.
Barbara will also highlight the beautiful art of Isidor Kaufmann, Sue Walsh’s great grandfather!
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