Migration, Memory and the Visual Arts: Second-Generation (Jewish) Artists

Migration, Memory and the Visual Arts: Second-Generation (Jewish) Artists

Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill presented work at online symposium

Migration, Memory and the Visual Arts: Second-Generation (Jewish) Artists

7 May 2021

University of Leicester

Organisers: Dr Imogen Wiltshire and Dr Fransiska Louwagie

Keynote speaker: Dr Glen Sujo, author and curator of Legacies of Silence: The Visual Arts and Holocaust Memory, Imperial War Museum.

Fay and Judy presented their work as part of Panel 2: Art-Making, Process and Identity in their session: Inner Recreation: Psychoanalysis and Second-Generation Visual Arts

Their paper examined the link between the need for reparation and the origin of the creative impulse, looking at psychoanalytic ideas on creativity. It toolk as its case study two second generation artist-daughters who collaborate, Judy Goldhill, brought up by parents and relatives affected by the Holocaust; Fay Ballard, whose father was placed in a Japanese internment camp during World War Two.

In Dream, Phantasy and Art, Hanna Segal builds on Melanie Klein’s ideas on the infantile depressive position and the need for reparation, by stating that art is a search for symbolic expression. The creation of this inner world is unconsciously a recreation of a lost world: what has been lost can be regained. Segal believes that art which moves us contains both death and life. Donald Winnicott writes on play and creativity. The paper will explore these ideas in the work of these two artists. 

Judy’s parents escaped Nazi Germany in 1938 and settled in England. Her family lost members in the Holocaust. Judy’s father died of polio when she was a baby. Fay’s father was born in Shanghai in 1930 and interned in Lunghua camp from 1943 to 1945 before coming to England. These experiences were internalised and recreated in his novels. Fay’s mother died when she was seven.

A collaboration between Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill has led to exhibitions, ‘Breathe’ at Freud Museum (2018) and ‘Travelling Companions’ at Cambridge University (2020). Drawing on family experiences and archives, they explore memory and identity, death, loss, and mourning. They also examine the emotional charge of ‘home’ and personal belongings, as well as the companionship of the skies. 

The event was supported by Association for Art History (AAH), Cultural Literacy Everywhere (CLE), the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the School of Arts at the University of Leicester.