The JHI recommends: “Faces And Hands” at the Institute For The Culture Of Encounter And Dialogue

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Visit the “Faces and Hands” exhibition of Julia Pirotte’s photographs which opened on the 11th of March at the Jan Karski Society Institute for the Culture of Encounter and Dialogue in Kielce at 7 Planty Street. 

Julia Pirotte (1907–2000) was a Polish photographer and photojournalist from a family of Polish Jews. She became famous for the photographs taken in Marseille during World War II showing the French Resistance and the images showing the aftermath of the Kielce Pogrom in 1946. 

A year before her death she donated her archives, hundreds of photographs taken by her, to the Jewish Historical Institute. Most of the photographs come from the 40’s and 50’s. Only some of them were taken later. Julia Pirotte’s photographs have been displayed in Belgium, France and the United States as well as in Poland in the 80’s. 

The exhibition contains a collection of photographs showing the extraordinary portraits in which the faces of the subjects are complemented by their hands. The subjects are both regular people- soldiers of the French Resistance, laborers, kibbutzniks, but also famous writers and artists- Julian Tuwim, Pablo Picasso. 

Teresa Śmiechowska, Head of the JHI’s Art Department, said of the exhibition: “To me it is important that the exhibition is being presented here, where the pogrom took place. The artist was here, just a couple days after the tragic events and she was the only person to take photographs of everything she saw here. It was her first photoreport. She took 116 photographs which were all taken from her by the Department of Security.”

“There are no photographs from Kielce in the exhibition. There is however a selection of photographs showing children form 1943 and 1944 from Poland and Marseille as well as older women. Julia loved to capture the sadness on people’s faces. The exhibition also contains a beautiful portrait of her sister, executed in 1944 as a member of the Resistance and the portraits of Julian Tuwim and Pablo Picasso.”- she added.

Entrance is free of charge. 

The exhibition will be open until April 20th 2015. The film “Julia Pirotte” by Maria Wiśnicka and Andrzej Wyrozębski is available for viewing on special request. 

Source of the interview with Teresa Ś

Jan Karski Society

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