WHERE IS KOVNO?
Yda Walt, Cheryl Rumbak, Philip Miller
KAUNAS BIENNIAL TEXTILE 09
”What is not acknowledged cannot be healed” (Waldemar Ginsburg)
Up until 1940, 250,000 Jews lived and were citizens of Lithuania. A thriving Jewish community of approximately 40,000 Jews lived in Kaunas, making up one quarter of the town’s population. They mainly spoke Yiddish and called Kaunas Kovno. There were 100 Jewish organizations, 40 synagogues, many Yiddish schools, 4 Hebrew High Schools, a Jewish hospital, 4 daily Jewish newspapers and scores of Jewish owned businesses. The beginning of the end of this community began with the Soviet occupation in 1940, and continued with the Nazi occupation from 1941-1945. The Jews were not only massacred by their Nazi occupiers, but also, by local Lithuanians who, Jewish survivors testify, were often worse in their brutality than the Nazi’s. By the time the war ended, only 4% of Kaunas’ Jews were still alive.
Presently a small community of Jews live in Kaunas. There is one synagogue which miraculously was not destroyed during the war, and very little else. The buildings that formerly housed Jewish institutions are renovated with none or very little signs or acknowledgment of their former Jewish life
STUDENTS POSTER BRIEF
We are attaching a list of important Jewish individuals, who were living in Kaunas either before or during the Second World War. Choose one person from this list and design a poster. You will need to do some of your own research – some information and links to internet sites that will be helpful in your research are provided. There are also some beautiful photographs of residents of Kovno on the internet sites that we have suggested. You can also use one or several of those on your poster as your image instead of using the individuals on our list:
The most successful posters will be printed and exhibited during the Textile Bienale. For the top three poster designs, there will be prizes.
Drawing, painting, woodcut, etching, screen-print, photo shop or any graphics medium that is suitable for printing.
Poster design must be eye catching and communicate something about the person. Your design must have a combination of text and image. The text must be in Lithuanian and English as it needs to communicate to as many people visiting the Bienale as possible. Be careful of too much text. Play with different typefaces. It also must include somewhere in the design, the title of the exhibition: WHERE IS KOVNO?
A good way of getting inspiration is looking at other artists’ posters. Examples: Alexander Calder, Ben Shahn, Marc Chagall, Bauhaus posters, etc
We would like to see the first draft of your design by 24 August. We will give you feedback on your designs, and the final proof must be ready by 21 September.
If you need help with your research, Goda is very knowledgable about Kovno history and can guide you in the right direction.
INTERESTING LINKS FOR YOUR RESEARCH