Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario. Its permanent collection, which is focused on historical Canadian, 19th-century European and Contemporary art, now numbers more than 10,000 works and is recognized as one of the finest in Canada.
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Last Folio: Yuri Dojc
October 22, 2016 to May 14, 2017
Curated by Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art
Time had stood still since 1942 in a small Jewish village in Slovakia, until nearly 10 years ago when Canadian photographer Yuri Dojc returned to visit his family’s former home. On the eve of World War II, many of the villagers had fled, and those remaining were taken away to concentration camps. Serendipity led Dojc, along with a documentary film team to the local Jewish school, which had been locked since 1943. All the school books were still there, including essay notebooks with corrections, even the sugar was still in the cupboard. The decaying books, which were lying on dusty shelves, the last witnesses of a once thriving culture, are treated by Dojc like the survivors they are, each one captured as a portrait, preserved in their final beauty, silent witnesses to the horrors of history.
The images in Last Folio are a last memento of the culture and people who used those books. Most of them are forgotten, they don’t have relatives or graves. I tried to memorialize them. This is not a documentary but my personal salute to a vanished culture and a vanished people.
"These images absorb me totally. They represent more than what I saw that first day" - Yuri Dojc