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The Holocaust Memorial
Located close to lively South Beach is one of the most haunting pieces of art I have ever seen. The deeply moving Holocaust Memorial in Miami is an art installation that combines the senses of sight, sound and a vivid array of emotions. The structure itself is a walled circle within a semicircle. Within the circle resides the main body of the work, a 42-foot bronze sculpted arm and hand reaching up to God. The wall surrounding the inner circle stands about 10 feet tall. The circle is connected to the outer semicircle by a long corridor. You must walk through the outer area to reach the corridor that leads to the arm. Along the outer semicircle are various other sections of the exhibit, including life-sized bronze sculptures of the Holocaust’s victims and a long stretch of etched shiny black granite blocks.
The etched granite along the outer semicircle contains two things. First a multi paneled history of the Holocaust including such things as European maps denoting number of lives vanquished per region and stories of struggling victims, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Poland. The other blocks of granite contain thousands of names of victims as submitted by their loved ones.
The enclosed corridor leading from the outer part of the exhibit to the main sculpture within the circle shrinks as you walk through it. The hallway is filled with the music of children singing in Hebrew. At the far end of the hallway, there is a sculpture of a life-sized little girl reaching out to you, in agony, for help. You will have to walk right past her to enter the main area of the work. Within this circular area paved in pink stone, are the life-sized bronze sculptures of dozens of human beings. Some on the ground near death, some ‘walking’ hand in hand, all emaciated and in anguish as their detailed bodies and expressions show. Other victims are actually climbing the 42-foot reaching hand. This is something you would not notice from the outside of the exhibit.
Walking around these tortured human skeleton sculptures, you get a sense of being warped back in time and experiencing the Holocaust victim’s sadness and anger. You almost feel as if you are one with them. The only way to exit the work is through the same corridor you came in. If nothing else, the walk down this hallway gives you a moment to compose yourself and begin reflecting on the multitude of emotions that will most probably have gripped you.
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The Holocaust, Holocaust Memorial, Bibliography of The Holocaust, Sculpture
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