Sculptural installation using Plaster, Jerusalem Stone and Earth.
This installation is a to-scale recreation of the barracks at Birkenau Death Camp in Poland, placed on a symbolic bed of soil. The exact barrack that one of my relatives was held in is replaced with a same size piece of Jerusalem Stone.
Jerusalem Stone has been and still is used in the building of most ancient and significant sites and temples in Judaism. I used plaster in an attempt to relate the work to ourselves and the human body; plaster being made predominantly of calcium, which makes up our bone structure. The soil was used to represent the grounds of the camp as well as Jewish Funerals, where a pile of soil is often seen and people may spread handfuls of it on top of the lowered coffin.
In curating this work, I decided to surround it with large prints of black and white photos I took during my time in Poland, to add a more personal connection to the site and the artwork. If I had the chance to do this again, I would make the soil stretch further to the walls of the room so that instead of having the ability to walk around the piece and feel large upon entering the room, there would be more of an uncomfortable, unfamiliar aspect, as I felt when walking through the camp, and people would have to maneuver through the room differently.
Hannah Warry-Smith , 17 yrs
Etobicoke School of the Arts