image: A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012- Private View – Friday 1 June, 12h
From the right to the left – Dzintars Zilgalvis (chairman of NOASS) , Doron Polak (performance artist from Israel), Agricola de Cologne (A-Team artists and director of artvideoKOELN), Hamit Ben Jaakov (Ambassador of Israel), Eitan Vitkon (photo artist from Israel)
image (from the right to the left): the ambassador of Austria, a representative of the Israeli Embassy, Ms. Hamit Ben-Jaakov, ambassador of Israel holding the opening speech, Agricola de Cologne, Dzintars Zilgalvis, Zanda, Eitan & Kate
During the crowded private view opened the Ambassador of Israel, Ms. Hamit Ben-Jaakov, A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 officially under the attendence of the ambassadors from Austria, The Netherlands and Belgium, as well as representatives from the Swedish, Israeli embassies, the Ministery of Foreign Affairs Latvia, the City Council of Riga and national and international organisations.
After NOASS chairman, Dzintars Zilgalvis had made first an introduction welcoming all excelleciens and representatives from Embassies, ministeries and institutions, the Ambassador from Israel explained the relevance of an initiative like A Virtual Memorial 2012 and Shoah Film Collection for keeping vivid the memory of the Holocaust, and Agricola de Cologne (me) gave an introduction to the project context of Shoah Film Collection and its complementary interventions aimed to activate the audience. He referred to the recent speech of the new President of the Federal Republik of Germany, Joachim Gauck, who started his entrance speech with the words “What a wonderful day”. Agricola de Cologne’s words will be released at a later stage in a documentation of papers and documents, starting as well, with the words “What a Wonderful Day”, see also PDF for download – AVM – Opening Speech by Agricola de Cologne
Image: After this first official part, Agricola de Cologne had the honour to lead her Excellency Ms. Hamit Ben-Jaakov through the exhibition at the upper and lower level of the Floating Art Gallery NOASS, who explanined there would be yet a lot of work for documenting the Shoah in Latvia and bringing the Shoah in Latvia only to a public attention, Shoah Film Collection might have a most relevant function in this sense. Both exhibitions – the photos by Eitan Vitkon (Israel) and Paolo Bonfiglio (Italy) left lasting impressions. They will be presented in Detail on the Blog one of the coming days.
The next highlight of the artistic part of the opening was the performance of the Israeli performance artist Doron Polak, taking place at the the lower let of the second floating gallery BETANOVUSS. This performance, referring to his family origin in Riga was based on the diary of Doron Polak’s father who still is living 92 years old in Tel-aviv together with his son Doron, gave a most intimate view in the Jewish understanding of life and death and the Shoah as a whole. This performance had an enormous emotional, philosophical and religious impact combined with an intensity of movement during the performance action. The lower level of BETANOVUSS as the location of this performance had an exemplary symbolism and was representing “that” ideal space for transporting Doron Polak’s artstic message. One of the coming days, there will be some more details about the aspect of performance in Doron Polak”s life, since on 2 June he is planning to visit “Rumbula Forest”, a symbolic place for the Holocaust in Latvia.
image: The private view came to an end at the buffet around 14:30h.
Another Privat View took place at Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum –>
At 15h, Rabbi Menachem Barkahan, who is also the chairman of SHAMIR and the Ghetto and Holocaust Museum, and as such partner of A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012, was guiding the 9 Shoah Film Collection artists attending the event in Riga through current open air museum and afterwrads through the future indoor Holocaust Museum. The holocaust museum opened in September 2010 as an outdoor museum, is the personal initiave of Rabbi Menachem Barkahan who grew up in Israel, but has it family roots in Riga. But currently, the indoor museum is under the construction, an old warehouse complex which which is reconstructed for the needs of the future Holocaust Museum.