CLARE artist Thomas Delohery has once again turned his attention to the horrors of the Holocaust in his latest body of work. If This Is A Man, an exhibition of mixed media artworks opened by Holocaust survivor Suzi Diamond recently.
Delohery’s work since 1997 is mainly to do with the theme of the Holocaust and he is just as fascinated about the process of making work as he is about the theme that drives it. “More than just people died in the Holocaust, I think a certain part of humanity did,” he said.
Speaking about this latest exhibition, he explained, “The first picture you will see in this new exhibition is a piece called Supermen. It is about the deluded perpetrators of the Holocaust who were led to believe that they were a super race.”
He goes on to explain that the next three pieces in the exhibition will challenge the viewer to try and not view these inmates depicted as anything other than numbers and text.
“The Nazis didn’t see them as individuals, they only saw them as numbers. It was this detachment that helped the Nazis murder innocent men, women and children in their millions. Then you will see pieces that go against Nazi thinking that try and get you to view these inmates as individuals; individuals who were forced to work for their very lives and even then didn’t save them,” he said.
The work then goes from the slave labour of the camps “to so-called liberation”. “Liberation is a beautiful-sounding word but for those who have survived, it was nearly always bitter sweet. Many died in the weeks and months after they were liberated. Some got back to their towns and villages only to be murdered there or to have someone else living in their homes. Most had lost relatives or friends. Entire families had been wiped out, even entire villages,” he said.
“How do you go on after what you have witnessed and experienced first hand in the death camps of Europe? How do you take it all in? Where do you start? Where do you go now? These were just some of the questions facing survivors. Unfortunately, similar questions were probably asked by Muslim survivors in the war-torn Balkans in the 1990s.
“The UN stated ‘never again’ after the holocaust. Is Bismark right that the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history?”
The show will run until Sunday, September 27.