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Daisy Brand is a survivor of the Holocaust from Czechoslovakia. She was deported to Auschwitz and survived that camp, and was then transported to Riga as a slave laborer. Other camps followed until liberation. She now lives in the Boston, having immigrated to the USA from Israel in 1966. She was educated at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Boston University. She has exhibited her ceramic work frequently in New England and in Europe, including France, Italy, England and Canada. She was part of a large exhibition curated by Monice Bohm-Duchen in London during 1995, "After Auschwitz". Brand is an artist who challenges Theodor Adorno's notion that to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. Her own ceramic art incorporates her wartime experiences. "My father was a banker in Bratislava. He was given a posting to the eastern part of Czechoslovakia, near the border with Rumania and Ukraine. While we were there, we were rounded up and transported to a Jewish ghetto. We were then transported to concentration camps. I myself spent time in seven different camps, including Auschwitz. I was only fourteen years old when I was incarcerated and I subsequently saw my entire family murdered."
One of the principles underlying my work is the wish to give testimony to an era and communicate an experience that is totally unique in history and which I was a part of. I was interested in drawing since early childhood. After the Second World War as a teenage survivor of the Holocaust, I had no opportunity to pursue art, while trying to grow on my own, and survive in postwar Czechoslovakia.
After the Second World War as a teenage survivor of the Holocaust, I had no opportunity to pursue art, while trying to grow on my own, and survive in postwar Czechoslovakia.
Much later, when life became more stable, at the age of thirty-two I enrolled in art school, majoring in ceramics. For years I worked in various techniques in clay, making functional pottery, teaching and turning to sculptural forms eventually in order to better express personal concerns. Gradually expressions of my Holocaust experience started to penetrate this work in the early 1980s.
My references are suggestive and deliberately ambiguous. I try to keep the exact meaning of some of the symbolism in my work private, and I hope to evoke an emotional response in the viewer to the power and meaning of that symbolism, which I believe is universal as well as personal.
The material I work with, namely porcelain as well as other clays, undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis from soft, smooth, almost sensual, to hard and resilient. To bring about this metamorphosis, the clay has to go through intense heat, radiating an orange glow from the cracks of the kiln, not unlike the crematoria in the night sky of Auschwitz. In my use of colours I allude to this analogy. The process in clay work is as old as civilization itself. Somehow the fascination for me is that fire in this case creates, rather than destroys, which I hope to apply to my life as well.
Ceramic & wood, 22"x55"x3"
Porcelain & wood, 20"x55"x4", 1983.