THE FATE OF THINGS:
MEMORY OBJECTS
AND ART
2018/2019

ANNE ZAHALKA AND SYLVIA GRIFFIN

Sydney Jewish Museum

2 November 2018 – 28 February 2019

{ Following the death of my mother in 2016, I began the melancholic task of sorting her belongings. Salvaged amongst these were a collection of letters, diaries, photographs, recipe books, embroideries and linen that had been carried across countries and oceans to finally rest here on this shore. As the child of a Holocaust survivor, I became the keeper of these family relics with only partial knowledge of the stories they contained.

works
overview

The works in this exhibition refer to transgenerational (or postmemory) trauma – recalling stories and histories shared through family stories, but not directly experienced. They reflect the artists’ own reactions and stories stemming from this heritage and their attempts to emotionally reconnect with lost family members, particularly their female predecessors.

In The Fate of Things: Memory Objects and Art, two Australian-born artists, Anne Zahalka and Sylvia Griffin, remember their families’ Holocaust experiences through inherited objects, remnants and relics. For this exhibition, the artists undertook a process of self-discovery by imbuing tangible symbols of their family histories with personal interpretations of their second-hand traumatic memories. Through video, photography, assemblage, sculpture and textiles, the artists memorialised lost family members never met, particularly female predecessors, to trace who they are today and how their characters have been formed over time.