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Joan Nyman
Jewish Drawings
Andover, Massachusetts
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Artist Statement


                                                   Jewish Drawings by Joan Nyman

The Jewish Drawings by Joan Nyman tell an important story and illustrate how art can be a powerful educational tool, which can raise awareness, teach tolerance, and help combat bullying.

Being an artist has been a very unexpected journey--one where my work seems to have a life of its own and I am just along for the ride.

Fifteen years ago, I was running my own business consulting and training company. I had absolutely no art training and had no idea that I could draw. After reading a book which mentioned an interesting drawing technique, I picked up a photograph of my late grandfather and started drawing. A few hours later, I looked down at an exact likeness of him and was stunned.

Shortly thereafter, I saw books of photographs of the Jewish towns and villages of Eastern Europe that existed before The Holocaust. I was mesmerized by those faces and knew immediately I had to draw them.  Only later did I realize that my grandfather had come from a similar village in Lithuania.

My subsequent work, inspired by those and other photographs, reflects a sense of Jewish life found in the towns and villages of Eastern Europe. I was deeply moved by their soulfulness and have tried to capture their essence.

These towns and villages included some of the poorest and most religious of the Jewish communities, some of which date back hundreds of years.

 It is my hope that my drawings provide a visceral connection with a people and their way of life that has long since disappeared and, in some small way, contribute to honoring the memory of the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

Their faces are a poignant reminder of the importance of respecting different religions and cultures and combatting prejudice wherever it exists..

The lessons of the Holocaust are an integral part of our common history and remind us to stay vigilant and speak out against any injustice we may see.




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