Stalin’s atrocities included the deaths of four of my blood relatives at the hands of NKVD interrogators, and the deportation to Siberia of 12 others. The purpose of the Hope and Spirit project was to commemorate these individuals and the 20 million others who perished from this hideousness.
It is due to my efforts that over 400 letters and photographs, sent from Siberia, were found and saved from oblivion. Many tragic family histories were finally revealed. It is these photographs that served as the basis for my own artistic commemoration, the Siberia Souls sequence of art works.
In the Siberia Souls sequence, the images consist of neuronal profiles, intertwined with my own MRI brain scans, electroencephalograms, and transformations of my own previous art work. It is these extensive, overlapping neuronal networks that encode our memories, which include memories of those who were dear to us.
The images also include portraits of those deported to Siberia, and their hand written letters. Placing the portraits in deeper layers gives them a hazy, ghost-like appearance.
If someone remembers you after you pass, in a sense you are immortal. By using my own neuronal patterns and networks, I am trying to give these individuals a degree of immortality.
Each diptych consists of three layers of printed polycarbonate, back-light by a white LED light in one, and a color-changing LED light system in the other.
This diptych structure corresponds to our own brains, where the left cerebral hemisphere is more analytic, logical, black and white, and the right hemisphere more artistic, creative, colorful.
The three layers of images correspond to our own three levels of awareness: consciousness, sub-consciousness and unconsciousness.
The pieces are either 27 inches or 51 inches in height. They are constructed using poplar wood. Poplar is a hard wood that grows tall and straight. It was the preferred wood for Native American’s dugout canoes. Also, the blossoms of the poplar are similar to lilies. It is called the lily tree. My wife loves her flower gardens, so using the lily tree is in recognition of her support of my art.
The emphasis in the 27 inch pieces were letters written by children deported to Siberia, and their photographs.
All materials used are archival quality. The images are printed with pigmented ink. The electrical light system is UL listed and approved. These pieces were created in 2014 and 2015.
There is an accompanying sequence of prints on paper. In these works, the images are 17 x 13 inches, and the print size is 24 x 20 inches. They are issued in a limited edition of 20 prints. They deal primarily with letters written by children deported to Siberia, and their photographs. These archival quality prints were made in 2015.
In 2018, I expanded the Siberia Souls prints on paper sequence by creating an additional 20 different works, each 11 x 24 inches in size.
Siberia Souls: Art Exhibits
Siberia Souls, an art exhibit of light sculptures
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
6500 S. Pulaski Rd.
March 27 to June 30, 2015
Opening reception 7 to 9 PM, Friday, March 27
WAS EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER, 2016
Siberia Souls was show-cased at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 18 through October 9, 2016. ArtPrize is the largest competitive art exhibit in the world, and takes over the entire city of Grand Rapids. 18 artists were invited to participate in a special exhibit dealing with social justice. This exhibit was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and took place at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
A total of 17,000 visitors saw Siberia Souls during this month-long exhibit!
Siberia Souls was also be shown September 16 through October 9, 2016, at Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Drive, Chicago IL 60643. This church occupies a historic building which is the only official castle in the entire metropolitan area. This building also happens to be haunted–quite appropriate given the “Souls” that will be on display.
Category: Siberia Souls