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Once Upon a Time in Lithuania Paperback – 5 Jun 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: David Paul (5 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954848217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954848217
  • Product Dimensions: 24.5 x 1.4 x 30.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,911,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


She captures a world which looks amazingly as it must have a century ago. There is one radical difference. There are no Jews. --John Russell Taylor, The Times art critic.

Naomi Alexander puts down what she sees directly and unaffectedly. With the utmost economy of means - we get the story. --Paula Riego.

A unique and remarkable book with its moving paintings and sketches of that tragic land. --Lord Janner of Braunstone, Chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

From the Author

When I had the opportunity of an artist’s residency at the Europas Parkas Museum in Vilnius, I knew immediately I wanted to draw Jewish culture. My grandmother’s family had come from Darbenai near the north-west border and the family tree stretches back to the mid-18th century.

My mother was a sculptor and one of her most powerful creations shows Jews rushing away on horses and carts escaping from Lithuania before the First World War. We always talked of visiting and finding out more about where we came from.

I felt intensely the presence of the Jews that once lived there, the homes they lived in, the things they must have done and the places they visited, and there is a sense that I am commemorating their lives here.

I want people to see what the shtetls and towns are like, but my drawings are not exact replications, they are not photographs. Photos can give you a lot of information but one is left with a much colder feeling. By taking away the straight lines of buildings, for instance, by curling the roofs, a different kind of reality emerges that I hope is warmer and more powerful. Whereas, in a darker drawing, where Nazi atrocities occurred – at the Ninth Fort, a difficult subject to draw – I’ve left some parts of the walls blank, simply to make the picture less busy.

I prefer to draw quickly. In one sketch there is a broken-down chapel, a bundle of wood. It would have taken several hours to sketch accurately but after four or five minutes’ drawing it is etched in my memory. It becomes my diary. It’s how I remember. In a pencil drawing I remember the detail, a crack in the corner of a building, a mood. Even more so if I paint, for that takes longer. But if I take too long over a painting it becomes too architectural with too much precision, and the emotion is lost.

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on 6 May 2006
Format: Paperback
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on 27 February 2011
Format: Paperback
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on 8 June 2009
Format: Paperback
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