The Simcha (A Joyful Occasion)
Oil on Canvas 24x36
Original Image Taken: 1974
This is a painting I made at the beginning of the 2020 Covid 19 pandemic. Like everyone, I was at home in strict lockdown, anxious about the danger of being exposed to a virus that we were only just beginning to understand and fearful of the destruction it would bring. There were no vaccines on the horizon and we were just getting acquainted with the idea of wearing masks when we went out in public. Schools were shut down, families were being kept apart, weddings and graduations were being postponed. I needed something to do to keep me calm and a distraction from my phone (where I kept close track of the daily infection rates).
This was my quarantine project and it is lofty with 31 faces to paint in a single image. I was drawn to this image because this was the group in my family who started their lives together in Krakow before the Holocaust, survived the war, emigrated to Canada and built a new life. Every single person in this image was touched by the Holocaust in one way or another, (including my older sisters in the front row, all of whom were named for great-grandparents who perished).
When I see these people together in their pink and purple dresses celebrating a good occasion at a simcha, after everything they’d been through, it reminded me that dark times do pass. The quarantine and this virus will eventually end and life will return. It always does.