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Jewish Melody

Jewish Melody is a 15-piece series of art work that has been created by Michael Rogatchi to commemorate events marking the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the extermination of the Vilnius Ghetto. Michael has been invited artist for a series of such events that take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the autumn of 2013. The series of events has been organised in Lithuania under the patronage of the Lithuanian EU Presidency (July-December 2013). The Jewish Melody exhibition is a part of the official programme of the IV World Litvak Congress in September 2013 in Vilnius. This is the only art exhibition included in the Congress programme. Apart from the world-famous cantor Yosef Malovanny, Michael Rogatchi has become the only foreign artist invited to participate in the series of events in Vilnius in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Vilnius Ghetto extermination.

The inaugural exhibition of the Jewish Melody series has been organised at the Vilnius Public Jewish Library (VPJL), the unique institution that has been opened in December 2011 for the first time since WWII. The exhibition is set for three months, from September to November 2013.

In his Jewish Melody series the artist wanted to emphasise not the motives of extermination but the motives of love, life and memory. In his images for the series, he wanted to create a loving and living thread connecting several generations of people, and remembering vividly those who perished because of the Holocaust, and in particular in Vilnius and its ghetto. Thus, some of the artists' works take viewers back to earlier times, some of them are set in the present, and some are set in an universal 'time-zone' reflecting rather our feelings and emotional connections. Michael Rogatchi's works in this series are 'singing' that "life is going on, love is in our hearts for our families and those who perished, and our living memory sustains us daily and makes life dignified."

In the musical video-essay featuring Michael's series, a particular piece of music has been used, the one of the most beloved and gentle Yiddish tangos, Ich Hob Dich Zefeel Lieb (I Love You Much Too Much). It is established historic fact that people in the Vilnius Ghetto were playing and listening to this very song devotedly.

The project and exhibition is curated by Inna Rogatchi. She also authored the musical video-essay on the series.

Michael's connection to Lithuania, Vilnius and Litvaks is very personal as parts of Michael's and his wife Inna Rogatchi's families are Litvaks by their origin, and both Michael and Inna feel a strong bond with this great group of their people, and the country of its origin.

Michael Rogatchi has dedicated his Jewish Melody series to the enlightened memory of Sofia Litowsky and Simon ReissAdel Chigrinsky and Abram JelovitchBella and Isaac Buyanover, the artist's and his wife's grandparents.

"In the outstanding art of Michael Rogatchi the very soul of his people is speaking out" - Francine Miller, art critic, London, UK

"Michael Rogatchi's Jewish Melody series is absolutely extraordinary. What a superb and wonderful gift to the Litvak Congress and Vilna" - Dr Judith Wolf, Boston, USA

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