Elie Wiesel: The Eighteen Paintings
ELIE WIESEL: THE EIGHTEEN PAINTINGS
After finishing the first painting of Elie Wiesel, I felt there was much more to tell. This man survived the horror of the Holocaust, survived the darkness of the Night. He chose not to carry the darkness into the breaking Dawn, nor into the Day. He chose to be a beacon of strength, of hope gained through gritted teeth. As both survivor and spokesperson for all those who perished in the flames of hatred, I felt he deserved more. One painting was not enough.
So I painted a second and a third, till at some point there were eighteen. In Hebrew, the word Chai means “Life”, and it has a strong spiritual significance. The ancient numerological system of Gematria assigns its Hebrew characters the number 18. From the beginning, I had wanted the paintings to be a living memorial to the six million victims of the Holocaust, with Elie Wiesel as the articulate embodiment of the Jewish people, my people.