This series of emerging contemporary illuminated manuscripts examines regions of the world where large scale episodes of genocide and mass annihilation have been perpetrated. Looking directly at and synthesizing beyond each cataclysm, the series depicts and interprets a layered crystallization of the historic legacy of genocide around the planet.
Early illuminated manuscripts, crafted in several major centers of civilization around the world and spanning several millennia, were highly prized artifacts, typically hand painted and bound books, scrolls or palm leaves; often including gold or silver (hence the term “illumination”). Subject matter often represented major religious, social and artistic beliefs of the period.
This selection of contemporary illuminations draws on the history of this traditional art form, re-mediated for the Meta-Modernist age of art expression. Beyond Genocide reflects the manuscript illuminators’ treatise on the social phenomena of genocide. Each illumination portrays the path of contemplation and commentary as a visual story which represents a culture of civilization threatened or extinguished by mass murder.
Uniting all illuminations in this series is the inclusion of the traditional blessing within Jewish liturgy known as the “Mourners Kaddish”. The ancient Aramaic prayer for the dead expresses the depth of compassion for the victims of mass atrocity in a collective prayer of remembrance and blessing, by the hand of the illuminator.
This penetrating and complex series is based on thorough research. The artist’s maturity of technical skill expresses a virtuosity which opens the viewer to the universality of these traumatic world events. The viewing experience establishes a collective, introspective / retrospective narrative challenging the viewer to consider the hundreds of millions of untold stories of the victims of mass atrocity. Viewed in its trajectory, the series crystalizes the great paradox of genocide. The intention of the artist is to deliver a deeply personal reflection of our common legacy of genocide and the universality of the victim’s life experience. Contemplation of each illumination compels one to question our role and our efforts in understanding our individual, personal relationship and responsibility for these acts.
The intricate layers of narrative behind each individual composition, viewed within the collection of the organized series, delivers an epic visual experience transcending cultures, geography and human history; truly illuminating matters of the issue of genocide on a deeply personal level challenging the viewer to speculate what these atrocities might mean to us, individually, and collectively for our era and future generations.
List of the Illuminations of the Series
1. Afghanistan (illumination completed 2003)
2. Armenia (illumination completed 2004)
3. Bangladesh (illuminations completed 2004)
4. Cambodia (illumination completed 2005)
5. China (illumination completed 2006)
6. Crusades and Inquisition (illumination completed 2007)
7. Democratic Republic of Congo (illumination completed 2007)
8. Ethiopia (illumination completed 2008)
9. Hiroshima and Nagasaki (illumination completed 2008)
10. Holocaust (illumination completed 2009)
11. Indonesia (completed fall 2009)
12. Iraq (completed spring 2010)
13. Namibia (completed winter 2010)
14. Native Populations of Australia (completed fall 2011)
15. Native Populations of Central and South America (completed winter 2012)
16. Native Populations of North America (completed summer 2014)
17. Nigeria (estimated completion 2015)
18. North Korea
19. Rwanda and Burundi
20. Soviet Union under Stalin
21: Sri Lanka
25. Yugoslavia (former)