When photographer Sophie Barbasch found a shopping bag full of undeveloped post-war negatives belonging to her Holocaust survivor grandparents, she knew she had found her next project. Projected onto a screen, Barbasch's haunting images of a vanished world will serve as a springboard for her discussion about photography, memory, erasure and Holocaust memorials with James E. Young, distinguished professor emeritus and founding director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass Amherst. A Q&A period will follow their conversation.
The program is part of the library's Stories of Exile Series, which includes includes a reading group and two additional public programs taking place from September to December 2023. We'll be exploring the refugee experiences of Eastern European Jews in the Holocaust and those of contemporary Syrians who have fled their war-torn country. To find out more and register for the reading group and other programs, go to the Stories of Exile homepage.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sophie Barbasch is a New York-based photographer. She earned her MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BA in Art and Art History from Brown University. She has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil and a NYSCA / NYFA Fellowship in photography. Selected residencies include Light Work, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, MASS MoCA, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and NARS Foundation. Selected publications include The New York Times and The New Yorker. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and is held in the collections of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. In 2022, Penumbra Foundation published her first monograph, "Obras," which was included on the list of best photobooks of 2022 by Photobookstore, LensCulture, Deadbeat Club and Nowhere Diary and featured as photobook of the month at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation.
ABOUT THE CONVERSATION PARTNER
In addition to being distinguished university professor emeritus and the former director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, James E. Young is the author of "At Memory’s Edge" and "The Texture of Memory" (both Yale University Press), among other works. In 1997 he served on a German commission appointed to find an appropriate design for a national memorial in Berlin to the European Jews killed in World War II. In 2003, he was appointed to the competition jury for a National 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, which selected “Reflecting Absence,” by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, dedicated and opened September 11, 2011.