This compelling and candid memoir by Mindy Weisel, an internationally acclaimed artist and author, traces her search for beauty in her life, which began as a child born in the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Person’s Camp to parents who had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. This is not her parents’ story, rather, it is a courageous and honest portrait of her struggle to understand the black hole she was born into. Her successful journey in becoming an artist with her own voice, and an unshakable will to live with beauty, is most inspiring. By weaving an eloquent tapestry of her art, narrative, poetry and journals, Ms. Weisel offers moving insights into her life and work, especially her deep-seated conviction that beauty and love can overcome tragedy.
AFTER: The Obligation of Beauty immerses the reader in Mindy’s astonishing body of paintings that explore the subtleties of color as a means in expressing emotion. The “second generation,” as her generation of survivors’ children are referred to, were faced not only with the tragedy their parents had endured but also with their own feelings of guilt and despair. The process of creating art not only became an antidote to the pain and suffering she witnessed and felt, but it also became an “obligation” for finding joy and love in the face of pain.
Each chapter of AFTER is accompanied by paintings relating to different periods of Mindy Weisel’s life – a life filled with accomplishment, meaning, love and fulfillment, personally and professionally.
Mindy Weisel, an internationally renowned artist, author and speaker, was elected into the Smithsonian Archives of American Artists in 2000. Her works are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of American Art, Oxford University and the Israel Museum, among many other public and private collections. Weisel is the author of DAUGHTERS OF ABSENCE: Transforming a Legacy of Loss; and TOUCHING QUIET: Reflections in Solitude. She is also a member of the United States Art in Embassies program. Weisel lived and worked, for over forty years, in Washington, D.C. and now resides in Jerusalem with her husband.
The most important thing to understand about After, however, is that it is not a book about the Holocaust…(Weisel’s) work is worthy of respect, admiration and emulation… Indeed, After is a book that can be approached as a work of inspiration and instruction that will be valuable to any aspiring or working artist.
“My belief in beauty is an obligation, a duty, a responsibility, a great joy in living it, in creating it, in sharing it,” she writes. “This has been my purpose.”
Mindy Weisel has fulfilled her purpose in her remarkable and accomplished book—sometimes sublime, sometimes tormenting, always elevating.
- Los Angeles Jewish Journal
“One of the most creative and evocative artists of this generation.”
- Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs
“In the world, as we know it today, one must create beauty and this Mindy Weisel has done – again and again – in her art, her writing, her teaching and her being. Her work is a compelling response to the Shoah, a way to live AFTER. We are the visual and spiritual beneficiaries of Mindy’s Obligation of Beauty. In this meaningful volume, we catch a glimpse of the beauty she has created as she shares with her readers why this is the path she has chosen. A path which believes in life.”
-Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Holocaust Institute, American Jewish University