LA based sculpture artist Cindy Jackson answered a call in 2006 put out by the Denver Mizel Museum for artists to contribute ideas for their Babi Yar Park holocaust memorial. After doing her research and making her proposal she was turned down as it was too expensive and too moving.
The story is one Cindy believes needs to be told and kept alive in human terms, not just numbers. Her quest is now to make certain her memorial is built. She is seeking help from her peers in LA to make this goal happen.
Babi Yar is among the many mass genocide events that took place at the hands of the Nazi’s during WWII. During the course of 1941 Jews, the ill, the mentally unstable and whomever else the Nazi decided to be removed were taken to Babi Yar Ravine near Kiev, Ukraine. One by one they were taken to the ravine, shot and pushed into the ravine to die. Not all died, some worked their way out, pulling loved ones out.
Her memorial will be 72 feet wide where the viewer will walk through a concave pit mimicking the ravine. The viewer will be part of the exhibit and by the depth of the pit, surrounded by a concrete sculpture representing the dead and dying in the ravine, get sense of the loss in terms of humanity not numbers. Each of the 1,000+ bodies in that sculpture will be individually sculpted from scratch, no duplications, each an individual. At the exit will be a bronze statute of a mother pulling her child out of the pit.
Her goal in making this was to do something so profound and moving that it would rival the Viet Nam memorial. I first looked at the Babi Yar web site for her project to get a sense of what she had planned. I was surprised when I met her to find she had a very small scale picture of her project.
Her vision of this monument is in the middle phases of the process. She would like it put together in a very public space where people will be able to experience the loss and emotions of the holocaust. “It is too important for humanity to never forget and never allow it to happen again.”
At this point the memorial engineering has been completed. Materials chosen for their wear characteristics and ease of maintenance. The Mizel turned her down due to cost. The local Museum of Tolerance is interested but lacks the space. In short she has had a lot of museums and foundations express interest, none have rejected her outright, rather put her on hold due to other priorities.
The construction process is already planned out. It involves making a 1/4 scale version of the project. From that model it is scanned and 4 foot by 8 foot sections are carved out of Styrofoam to make molds. Those molds are then covered in clay that are then cast into concrete. Those concrete sections would then be assembled on their base.
Cindy is committed to this sculpture. “I can’t NOT imagine this not being completed. It is too important for all of us to NOT understand this loss in human terms and not just numbers. A holocaust memorial needs to be more than a remembrance and a bubbling fountain, it needs to be a compelling and profoundly emotional piece that leaves the viewer in awe”.
Over coffee we talked about a lot of things. Some of it silly, like it turns out our paths crossed in college and didn’t even know it. Another commonality is that it is so difficult for artists to make a living let alone obtain funding for the truly large things they would like to do, more so when you have a tanking economy. Cindy is reaching out to local artists asking for help in getting her sculpture and memorial built. Without corporate funding and nothing more than the conviction that it needs to be built she is moving forward.
Cindy and I are aware artists always have a piece or two in storage that need a home. She is asking for local artists to donate a piece if they have one to spare for an auction she is going to run to fund the construction of the model.
This auction is scheduled to start in June. She asks that if you could send her a jpeg of the item, a short description with a bio sheet and price. You may contact via email at cja[email protected] for additional information.
This post came about from an entry of the “suggest a story”. Yes, we do read what you suggest, and I even contact for more information. The good detail pics for the article were provided by Cindy. The pics of the model were done with my phonecam. Trust me if I had known I was going to see that working model I would have brought along a good camera.