Afterimage: Evocations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Arts and Literature


269 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-88947-390-0
DDC 700'.458




Edited by Loren Lerner
Reviewed by Eugenia Sojka

Eugenia Sojka is head of the Canadian Studies Centre in the Institute of
British and American Culture and Literature at the University of
Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland.


This groundbreaking collection of essays edited by Loren Lerner, an art
history professor at the University of Concordia, examines the tragedy
of the Holocaust in contemporary Canadian art and literature projects.

The book is a result of the exhibition and conference organized by
Lerner in 2000 under the auspices of Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.
Part 1 is devoted to the work of women artists affected by the war and
the Holocaust. In “Afterimage,” Lerner discusses the art of Wendy
Oberlander, Marion Wagschal, and Yvonne Singer in the context of Jewish
religion, history, and philosophy. His discussion is followed by
Singer’s and Oberlander’s reflections on art in “Staging Memory”
and “The Impossibility of Names: My Early 21st Century Diaspora,”
respectively. In “Marcher Auschwitz,” Marie Jeanne Musiol comments
on her photographic project in Auschwitz. Katja MacLeod Kessin explores
the complex nature of Jewish art after Auschwitz in “A is for
Auschwitz and Art after Adorno.”

Part 2 is a collection of original fiction (Irena Eisler, Norman
Ravvin) , poetry (Doug Beardsley, Bernard Levy), critical essays,
memoirs, and reflections on the conference theme. Two outstanding essays
by Reesa Greenberg and Gary Evans explore the Holocaust theme in
Canadian visual arts and film/video, respectively. Moving personal
accounts are provided by Lisa Marielle Bleyer in “Child of Survivor
Seeks Catharsis Through Choreography” and Linda Frimer in “The
Vancouver Gesher Holocaust Project.” Essays by Claudine Majzels and
Beralie Zatzman examine the importance of art for Holocaust survivors
and Holocaust education through the fine arts, respectively. The
collection concludes with a theatrical monologue by Judith Thompson
focusing on the Shoah (“Highborn”).

This interdisciplinary work is an outstanding contribution to
contemporary Canadian cultural discourse.


“Afterimage: Evocations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Arts and Literature,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,