Leo Baeck Centre’s New Memorial Sculpture

December 12, 2010 Agencies
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“….and the wind whispered your name ” was created by artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos for the Leo Baeck Centre (LBC) in Melbourne. The sculpture is intimate and reverential, moving very gently, whispering softly.

l-r Adele Dimopoulos, Annetta Able, Stephanie Heller and Konstantin Dimopoulos

Dimopoulos is known internationally for his sculptures created from rods with works in both public and private collections in Boston, Denver, Palm Springs; and in Australia and New Zealand.

and the wind whispered your name was dedicated by Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black as part of the Leo Baeck Centre’s Kristallnacht service. Speaking at the service and dedication were Pauline Rockman, OAM, President of the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne; and Holocaust Survivor, Stephanie Heller. Stephanie and her identical twin sister, Annetta Able (nee Heilbrunn) are both members of LBC. They were 19 when they were deported from Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz in 1944.

There they suffered at the hands of nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, known for his experiments on twins. That they survived and went onto lead healthy lives, including raising families and now with doting grandchildren, is a testament to their strength of spirit.

Dimopoulos says of his work “and the wind whispered your name is a memorial sculpture that focuses on the idea of simplicity and elegance. It’s a work that echoes or perhaps whispers the thought that in the midst of ugliness, in the midst of death and despair the enduring beauty of the human spirit will rise upwards towards the light.

“These elegant yellow reeds are set in a simple circle, rising out of the ground like the stems of beautiful flowers searching for the rays of the sun. Around them are rough steely-grey stones and olive trees that constitute the simple yet evocative landscaping.

“As the reeds are moved by the wind they touch each other like hands stretching out to embrace and in doing so they create a soft sound like pebbles falling against each other on a beach.

“For me this work reflects in part a story told to me by Stephanie Heller that in Auschwitz she found a small flower growing at the edge of the compound. It was a dandelion, small, yellow, and the only flower she’d seen in months. In the midst of such ugliness and devastation this flower grew. This was little more than a weed, but at that place, at that time it was something exquisitely beautiful, to be cherished, to be protected, to still be remembered decades later.

“My wife, Adele and I have gifted this sculpture to our Leo Baeck Community in eternal memory of victims of the Holocaust; those who perished who are remembered by name, those still living, and those whose names died with them.”

In his dedication of the Holocaust Memorial, Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black said, “As the Holocaust moves from personal memory to recorded history, evocative memorials have an increasingly important role in evoking and recalling the tragedy for future generations to reinforce the message to all humanity: Never Again.”

Kon Dimopoulos has public sculptures in Boston, Denver and Palm Springs, and heads to Canada next year to create a public installation The Blue Trees for the Vancouver Biennale.
He is currently in the USA installing a sculpture.

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