Event: Photographer Loli Kantor presents a lecture and slide show on “There Was a Forest,” an exhibit about Jewish life in Eastern Europe
When: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m.
Where: The Harry Ransom Center, Prothro Theatre
Background: Kantor is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Fort Worth. The child of Holocaust survivors, Kantor has traveled repeatedly to Central and Eastern Europe, taking photographs and collecting audio documentations and oral histories.
The photographs in this series, created primarily throughout Poland and Ukraine, document the disappearing population of Holocaust survivors and their lives within the vanishing shtetls (small towns) of Eastern Europe. The work also offers a glimpse into rebirth of Jewish life and culture in Eastern Europe, which is beginning to transform some of the larger communities.
The title of this body of work, “There Was a Forest,” alludes to the forest of the natural world and the metaphorical human forest of Jewish life, both of which have been placed at risk of destruction by the force of technology, industrialization and war. Natural landscapes are resilient, like people, but the growth back is slow and the return, never the same. Kantor’s project reflects on the efforts of communities trying to preserve their Jewish identity.
Part of the project is printed using the palladium process, making contact prints from black-and-white negatives. The companion portion of the project is printed as vivid, highly saturated color pigment prints, conveying the tangible reality of these places, including the full palette of the region’s hues, offering the viewer a glimpse in current time.
The exhibit and event are sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies. Kantor’s work is on view through Feb. 27 at the L. Nowlin Gallery, 1202 W. 6th Street, Austin.
For more information, contact the Schusterman Center at 512-475-6178.