Pen and ink on paper *
Provenance: from the artist’s studio
One of a series of pen and ink drawings from Ghetto, a collaborative project with the artist’s father, poet Michael Longley.
Terezin was a concentration camp 30 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic during the World War II. The choreographer Helen Lewis (1916-2009) miraculously survived this camp, Auschwitz, Stutthof and the notorious death marches ordered by the Nazis after the Russian invasion. She was encouraged to write about her life by her two sons and encouraged to publish her memoir, A Time to Speak, by her friend Michael Longley. Helen Lewis was Sarah Longley’s dance teacher in Belfast. See also Sarah’s portrait of Helen Lewis.
Sarah has also produced three large scale charcoal drawings for Michael Longley’s Ghetto poetry collection (click here to view these).
“. . . . I’ve had to be strict with myself and try to reduce the large fluid movements which I employ when working with charcoal, and hone the marks down to the bare minimum using pen and ink, whilst still being expressive.
. . . . I nervously sketched out a few images and ideas of how I could present such a complex, powerful poem. . . . I used my own photographs and bits and pieces to illustrate the first verse of ‘Ghetto’, which lists items which might be packed when you are abruptly forced to leave home: ‘Because you will suffer soon and die, your choices//Are neither right nor wrong’. I believe that we must try to picture ourselves and our families enduring such hell on earth.
Eventually this led to the book Ghetto, with [my] illustrations for each of the poem’s eight sections; also for several more Holocaust poems from previous collections, and a new poem ‘Primo’s Question’. It was a challenging task but I’m very proud of the book especially as right-wing xenophobia is simmering throughout Europe.” – Sarah Longley (to read her full essay, click here)
*Daler Rowney Heavyweight acid free cartridge paper 220gsm