Shipwrecked in the Death Camps of Europe

Thomas Delohery

29 March - 23 April 2011
Opening Tuesday 29 March, 6-8pm

Exhibition to be opened by Victor Majzner

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"The reason I gave my first Melbourne solo exhibition of Holocaust-related work this title is that a lot of pieces in this exhibition are to do with the liberation of the camps. The writer and survivor, Primo Levi, said that Liberation for him felt like being shipwrecked.

Liberation is a beautiful sounding word but for those who survived the camps, it was nearly always bitter-sweet. Many died in the weeks and months after they were liberated. Some got back to their towns and villages only to be murdered there or to have someone else living in their homes. Most had lost relatives or friends. Entire families had been wiped out; even entire villages had been leveled by the Nazis. It was as if they had never existed.

“How do you go on after what you have witnessed and experienced first-hand in the death camps of Europe? How do you take it all in? Where do you start? Where do you go now?” These were just some of the questions facing survivors. Unfortunately similar questions were probably asked by Muslim survivors in war-torn Balkans in the '90s.

The UN stated ‘Never Again’ after the Holocaust. Is Bismark right, that the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history?"

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Thomas Delohery studied at both the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and the University of Ulster, and, since receiving his Masters, has presented more than 40 solo shows and exhibited in 18 group shows around the world.

For the last 13 years, Thomas has focussed almost exclusively on one subject – the Holocaust. For the most part, his work pays tribute to those who perished and honours their courage, suffering, humanity and various ways of resistance.

‘Thomas Delohery's skill and vision as an artist are of a very high order. Tackling the theme of the Holocaust poses huge challenges to any artist and Mr Delohery is among the very few who have succeeded in producing work that expresses deep truths about the subject while also expressing a coherent and ultimately optimistic artistic vision.’
Ben Barkow, director of The Weiner Library at the Institute of Contemporary History in London)

In addition to the The Weiner Library, his work is held in the collections of Yad Vashem, the University of Ulster, Kunstlerhaus (Munich), the University of Cork as well as private collections in the UK, Germany, Finland, Israel, Eire, Canada, Northern Ireland, Poland, the USA, the Czech Republic and Australia.

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