Five Generations.

In this project I am exploring my identity as a woman, as a foreigner, and as a member of the Jewish community that has left Israel and is living abroad. Through old photos I find in my grandmother’s drawers and through the stories she tells me, I’m painting the lives of the women in my family that I’ve never met. Learning their story and how it connects to mine. Wondering how their life was like, what they were thinking in each photo and connecting to them through my paintbrush. Their photos tell the story of their lives and the untold history of women. How was each woman affected by the times and place she lived in? What do all these woman have in common? How is their identity as a woman affected by these things? In an ever changing world are these questions relevant to every family?

Remember us like this

oil on canvas

97cm x 148cm

2013

2200$

This is a painting of my grandmothers sister and her two children sitting outside their house in Poland. My grandmother never had family albums. She had two drawers in the living room full of old photos. This is a painting of one of those photos. All of them were killed in the Holocaust. My grandmother can’t remember the names of the children. The thoughts that were with me while painting this were about the fragility of life. A photo is a moment in a person’s life. Painting this moment while knowing the future of these people is like traveling in a time machine of generations.

My future is my past

oil on canvas

130cm x 89cm

2013

2000$

This is a painting of my grandmothers sister and her two children sitting outside their house in Poland. My grandmother never had family albums. She had two drawers in the living room full of old photos. This is a painting of one of those photos. All of them were killed in the Holocaust. My grandmother can’t remember the names of the children. The thoughts that were with me while painting this were about the fragility of life. A photo is a moment in a person’s life. Painting this moment while knowing the future of these people is like traveling in a time machine of generations.

The flowers I gathered during  my journey to here

oil on linen

116cm x 89cm

2013

1,800$

This painting is based on one of the only photos of my great grandmother who I’m named after. She ran a small convenient store in a small village in Polonia. During the first years of World War 2, Jews were only allowed to consume certain products and someone in the village told the S.S. that she had products that were forbidden in her store. My great grandmother heard that they were coming to arrest her and knew that my grandmother was at home. She ran home to protect her daughter and was arrested and sent to Auchwitz. My grandmother lived her whole life with guilt that her mother was caught because of her.

You are present in my thoughts

oil on canvas

40cm x 50cm

2015

 

1,800$

This is a painting of my grandmother as a young woman in Israel. In the background is her sister that mas murdered in the holocaust. Her sister was the best seamstress of the village. People from all around would come especially to her.

The future is yours

oil on canvas

61cmx46cm

2015

1,800$

This is a painting of my grandmother’s sister and her daughter. They managed to escape to Russia and come to Israel.

 © 2019 by Yonat Vaks. 

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon