Art by artist and guest tolerance educator Akiva K. Segan
Artworks in the website include all of the Under the Wings art series, and the companion Sight-seeing with Dignity education fine art series; and other Holocaust and human rights-themed educational works.
Many (but not all) of the drawings in the ‘wings’ series (and in the Sight-seeing series) portray victims drawn with birds wings. The wings series was designed by the artist to be accessible to viewers of all ages, including those most vulnerable to prejudice: children, adolescents, youth.
The UNDER the WINGS art series (Holocaust, Fascism victims, Europe, 1930’s - 1945) was begun in 1991. Each artwork title and thumbnail photo has a catalog alpha-numeric prefix of UTW, e.g. UTW 1: Muranow Street trolley, Warsaw ghetto; UTW 26: Giettel Laski of Warsaw, born 1937 or 1938
The SIGHT-SEEING with DIGNITY human rights art series was begun in 2003. The drawings portray individual victims of hate crimes, war, genocide, government repression, capital punishment, etc. With the thumbnail photos and titles each have a catalog alpha-numeric starting with SWD, e.g. SWD 1: Benjamin Hermansen of Oslo, 1988 – 2001; SWD 28: Bobby Kennedy and My Parakeet .
OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ARTWORKS are grouped by decade, 1970’s, 1980’s, etc. The title and thumbnail photo catalog alpha-numeric starts with OHRA, the year and title, e.g. OHRA 1972 Vietnam
OTHER HOLOCAUST ARTWORKS are grouped by decade: 1970’s, 1980’s, etc., with the title and thumbnail catalog alpha-numeric beginning with OHA, e.g. OHA 1984 Rytro metamorphosis, Poland; OHA 2017 The Sea monsters & the sailing ship St Louis, 1939.
The Under the Wings series, underway since 1991, portrays murdered victims of the Nazis and Fascists in Europe, 1933-45. The 46 artworks, seen at exhibits, program displays, power-point presentations and online, offer audiences a restoration of dignity in memory of the victims.
As of May 2019, the Under the Wings series has 67 works completed, including 10 monumental mosaic-drawing combos. Including the ten completed mosaic-drawing combos, sixty UTW artworks are framed and exhibit ready. Two wings series drawings whose figures were drawn in 1997 await the drawing of wings.
The Sight-seeing with Dignity human rights art series, begun 2003, has 36 drawings completed as of May 2019; 33 drawings are framed and exhibit ready.
Beginning in 1994, Segan has guest taught audiences ages 5 to elderly in art museums, schools (public-state, private, parochial), colleges/universities, houses of worship, prisons, workplaces, public libraries and other sites in six U.S. states; England, Wales, Scotland; Israel.
Segan presents power-point classes on his own art; and on the art of late Polish Jewish survivor and award winning children’s book author Israel Bernbaum; late Polish Jewish survivor artist and author Toby Knobel Fluek; and art by German Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum, especially his self-portraits painting while in hiding in Brussels. Nussbaum and his wife Felka, who was from Warsaw and an artist, both perished at Auschwitz.
Bernbaum wrote the text of a children’s book, My Brother’s Keeper – The Holocaust Through the Eyes of an Artist (pub: Putnam, NY, 1985; 1990 German Award for Young People’s Literature).
Fluek wrote her memoir, Memories of my life in a Polish Village, 1930-49 (pub. by Knopf, NY, 1990).
The Nussbaum class includes examples of his pre-WWII landscape, boat and other imagery in paintings, drawings; with a main focus on the amazing self-portraits he made during years of hiding in Brussels. He perished at Auschwitz. Book references include: Felix Nussbaum: Art Defamed, Art in Exile, Art in Resistance (pub. by Museum Osnabrück and Rasch Verlag Bramsche, Germany, 1990); and Art in Exile – Felix Nussbaum, 1904-1944 (pub. by The Jewish Museum, New York, 1985)
Segan also teaches several classes on art not related to the Holocaust and human rights, e.g. winged depictions of flight, in art from antiquity to the present, from worldwide.
Segan facilitates an art therapy oriented hands-on workshop suitable for all ages of audiences. The youngest participants have been ages 4 and 5; the oldest in their 90’s. The workshop is presented in-tandem at exhibits or after power-point class presentations. It is not a studio art learning class. It is a workshop to allow participants a safe environment to express responses challenging subjects like the Holocaust as well as the losses everyone experiences, e.g. friends, family, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, etc. Workshop attendees have ranged in age from children ages four & five to the elderly, and all ages-in- between.
My Drawing-for-Healing workshop grew out of a spoken word, group poetry writing for healing workshop I attended, facilitated by Leah Thorn of England, at the Second Int’l Conference on the Holocaust & Education, Int’l School for Holocaust Education, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1999.
Using the universally accessible teaching tool of art to educate children and youth about prejudice and intolerance, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and the bigotry and violence that accompanies anti-immigrant rhetoric led by government leaders, politicians and/or hate groups.
To restore dignity to the memory of those murdered by the Nazi's, their Fascist collaborators, and the silence of millions.
To provide a safe and non-threatening format for children, parents, teachers, librarians, clergy, therapists and others who work with children & youth through on-line learning, art exhibitions and slide classes. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote that in the 1950’s, he and other survivors believed that the history and lessons of Auschwitz would prevent new genocides. Sadly, that proved idealistic, born out of their experiences in the concentration-death camps. Today, in 2019, and onto the years ahead, the need for tolerance education for children and youth is now greater than ever.
PARENTS & TEACHERS
The contemporary artworks seen in this website, accompanied by examples of historic, archival, family, and/or news and publicly seen (e.g. books, internet) photos used as source materials for the art imagery, are designed to be accessible to viewers of all ages.