My name is Diana Kay Lubarsky, and I am the sculptor of the collection of work entitled Holocaust Images.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in April 1945. A few years later my family moved to Long Island where I spent the remainder of my youth. In High School I discovered the field of Rehabilitation Medicine, and made the life choice to study Physical Therapy. In time, I graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. It was a good choice and I have continued to work in the field of Rehabilitation Medicine for over 40 years.
I met Elliot Lubarsky in the early 1960's and we were married in October of 1969. We moved to Northern Westchester, 50 miles north of New York City, settled down and raised a family. Thirty-five years passed quickly. With our children all grown and dispersed, Elliot and I packed up the old homestead and in 2005 we moved cross-country to a suburb of Portland, Oregon, where we currently reside.
The derivation of my involvement with Holocaust is a question always asked, yet impossible to answer in a normal context. I am neither a survivor, nor child of a survivor. Religious practice was a very minor part of my childhood. I was raised knowing little about Judaism, and virtually nothing about the Holocaust.
Odd as it may sound, my connection to the Holocaust is a torrent of images that I see in my head. They are the images of a people caught in the throes of Holocaust. For more than a quarter of a century these images have been with me and have bound me so deeply to the Holocaust that it has infused itself into every aspect of my life.
I do not know where these images originate. I suspect it is from somewhere in the past. I have come to believe that I did not choose Holocaust, but rather Holocaust chose me. As bizarre as this may sound, I feel as though I have been asked by the "people in my head" to remember them. And I do, with each breath I take.
My personal involvement with the Holocaust began somewhere in 1974, shortly after the birth of my first child. It began with a torrent of unexplainable nightmares of Nazi Occupation. Over the ensuing years these nightmares evolved into visions, or what I call images (which continue to this day). When this occurs, the feeling is like watching a newsreel, except that what I see is all behind my eyes, and I know that no one else can actually see what I see. It feels as though I enter a sort of portal into the past lives of other people. The sculptures in my collection are all representative of theses specific lives or images that have come into my head; hence the title of the exhibit: Holocaust Images.
I have always loved the feel of clay in my hands, regardless of the inept work produced when I entered my first ceramic studio in 1969. I was not a sculptor by any means, but spent many hours attempting to throw clay on a potter's wheel and making an endless variety of lopsided plates, ashtrays, bowls, and weird little creatures. Having never intended to be an "artist", I have never experienced any formal art training.
The sudden and urgent need to sculpt arrived only after the Holocaust Images began. As image after image seared across my mind, the need to create that which I "saw" became overwhelming. I was probably more surprised than anyone by the powerful sculptures that flowed from my hands, beginning as early as 1976.
The images that I see come to me absolutely whole and complete. I describe what I do as "jotting them down", usually in clay. All of the sculptures in the Holocaust Images collection, with the exception of two pieces, have been created from this inner vision. As for the two exceptions, they were influenced by, and created for specific concentration camps that my husband and I visited in 1997.
Article of Faith:
It is important to note that I do not "re-create" bayonets jammed through skeletons, or people strung over electric wires. I do not "do" Nazis or attack dogs, or any of the horrific scenes often associated with Holocaust Art. The "people in my head" and I choose not to memorialize the perpetrators of violence, or the individual heinous acts committed upon a defenseless people.
Simply put, we create memorials. With the unfaltering guidance of "the people in my head", I remember a people who could not leave their mark on the world the way they would have chosen. And I remember these people with love, and with hope, and with dignity, in a setting of Holocaust.
For more than thirty years the images of Holocaust have lived behind my eyes. It is like having one world superimposed upon another. In my normal, everyday world I am a wife, a mother, a professional physical therapist. I am involved with my family, friends, co-workers and patients. I volunteer, cook and bake, and host gatherings and parties that fill my house with people and laughter.
And then there is my other world. At any time, day or night
(though usually during the late evening hours), an entirely
different world comes into focus behind my eyes, as a
never-ending rag-tag line of people trudges slowly and
endlessly across the fabric of my life. I see them as
clearly as I see my own hands.