Veronique Jonas Statement

Veronique Jonas Statement


The twelve paintings in the series, The Phantoms of Memory, depict the Greek island of Rhodes, as I see it today, juxtaposed with collaged photographs of the Jews who lived there. These images are mostly of family members who perished in the Holo- caust. This work is an expression of a memory about a time and a life that I did not know, but that I acquired through the eyes of my mother. It is an expression of the feel- ings that inundate my soul and my senses every time I visit Rhodes, with every step that I take through the Jewish quarter.

This series is about the memories that accompany me as I wander through quaint little alleys and houses, sometimes still showing the ravages of war. The work is a haunting reminder of a vibrant community that was eradicated by the Nazis, a beauti- ful island that was the home of my grandparents and so many aunts and uncles. The Kaddish, the Hebrew prayer for the dead, is incorporated in most of the paintings, to honor those who perished.

Throughout these paintings there is contrast between past and present, between what is and what could have been, between creation and destruction. A bright blue sky is often present in the work, a reminder of the goodness of God’s creation, and then there is the evidence of man’s evil and devastation. The work brings together color and darkness, life and spirits, reality and imagination.

My intention is to create paintings that will draw the viewer in by their beauty and by the mystery of the architecture. Once immersed in the work, I want viewers to realize through the text and the images of people, hidden everywhere like phantoms, the sense of a family and a community lost. The work is a warning for us to never allow this kind of genocide to recur, and the knowledge that it is nevertheless happening today.

Veronique Jonas’s  body of work.