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Trauma:. A commemoration to the rawest human emotions. Table of Contents. Directors Foreword 3 Artwork 4 -7 Literature/Poetry 8-12 Memorials 13-19.

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A commemoration to the

rawest human emotions

table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Directors Foreword 3
  • Artwork 4-7
  • Literature/Poetry 8-12
  • Memorials 13-19

One particularly unique human phenomena is the tendency to memorialize and attempt to convey individual accounts of trauma. For some reason, sympathy is not enough; humans who have experienced trauma try their best to evoke the more meaningful feeling of empathy. Comprehending what the conditions of an individual’s response to trauma is not sufficient to understanding the reality of what occurred. Aside from recounting individual experiences, those afflicted by trauma have made significant strides towards fostering the feeling of empathy through various memorials & homages to trauma. The sole purpose of this museum is to provide a public setting in which visitors will have the opportunity to explore and interact with both representations of trauma as well as artistic attempts to cope with trauma through various mediums; these works make ground in conveying the complexities and uniqueness of each traumatic event/occurrence and shed light on different ways humans respond to similar events.


The following are prominent works of Holocaust painter & early modernist Marc Chagall. Chagall is most notable known for his work in extensive work themed around the New & Old Testament seen above. Deeply affected by the events of the Shoah, Chagall began incorporating Jewish and Christian themes into his representations of the holocaust; in an effort to convey the universal significance of this occurrence.


These works were constructed by ZinoviiTolkatchev, a private in the Russian Army. A soviet artist, Tolkatchev created official art for the Soviet Regime. He is well known for two series of paintings following his witnessing of the liberation of the death camp Majdanek and subsequently the liberation of Auschwitz. His works reached acclaim for the simplistic nature in which they were created; both series were primarily drawn with pencil on paper. In the rare occasions he depicted color, Tolkatchev utilized crayons and simple base colors to illustrate the desolation of the camps after liberation.


The following is a collection of children’s drawings commemorating/coping with the tragedy of 9/11. Ten years after the attack, Assouline publishers released this 72 drawing collection which depicts how children were able to endure the negative events of the terrorists’ attack and promote positive messages of growth and rebirth.

paul celan s deathfuge

Celan’sDeathFuge is one of the most renowned poetic responses to the Holocaust. This particular poem was constructed as a musical Fugue which allowed Celanto build upon each stanza with tone, volume and impact. Celan gives voice to all others that were imprisoned and embodied the unrelenting acceptance of those imprisoned by lamenting the habitual task of “drinking the milk.”  Furthermore, fugues were a signature piece of Johann Sebastian Bach. Choosing the typical style of a renowned high class German citizen was a way to “get back” at the oppressive Germans during the Shoah. Because Jews were not allowed to sing German songs or poetry, deliberately violated this oppressive restriction, as a demonstration of his freedom to create poetry in any form or language he deemed fit.

Paul Celan’sDeathFuge:

“Black milk of daybreak we drink it at evening

We drink it at midday and morning we drink it at night

We drink and we drink

We shovel a grave in the air there you won’t lie too cramped

A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes

He writes when it grows dark to Deutschland you golden hair Marguerite

He writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are all sparkling

He whistles his hounds to come close

He whistles his Jews into rows has them shovel a grave in the ground

He orders us strike up and play for the dance...”


Molodovsky was a prominent Yiddish poet in the 20th century. Prior to the holocaust, Molodovsky primarily wrote about poverty and homelessness. Deeply affected by the events during the Nazi regime, Kadya began contemplating questions of Jewish identity and the presence of God in the wake of such tragedy. Her famous poem, “God of Mercy” reflects the sentiment that many people gave up on religion after witnessing such atrocities.

“God of Mercy

Choose another people

We are tired of death, tired of corpses,

We have no more prayers.

Choose another people

We have run out of blood

For victims,

Our houses have been turned into desert, The earth lacks space for tombstones,

There are no more lamentations

Nor songs of woe

In the ancient texts.

God of Mercy

Sanctify another land,

Another Sinai.

We have covered every field and stone

With ashes and holiness

With our crones

With our Young

With our infants

We have paid for each letter in your Commandments…”

Kadya Molodovsky – “God of Mercy”

response to breast cancer
Response to Breast Cancer


“People think I’m crazy

To thank god for this gift

They say I must be brain deead

To even consider this

But it has made me understand

Life’s ups, and yes its downs

It has given me the ability

To laugh through all the frowns

My gift from God’s a treasure

I celebrate each day

And I live my life as best I can

And help others on my way

I didn’t die, but I truly learned to LIVE with cancer”

The following poem is in response to being diagnosed with breast cancer. Unlike many responses to trauma,some people manage to spin a positive light on the tragic events that have befallen them. Despite anguish, futility and physical pain, some people are able to see the silver lining in life’s events.

child loss poems
Child Loss Poems

In response to losing children, even prior to birth, many parents respond to this type of trauma specifically with poetry. Many, if not most, poetic responses from grieving parents are written and published anonymously. Specific emphasis is often placed on remaining positive despite the traumatic events. Some representations, like the one seen here, focus on seeing the child in heaven, while others focus on the fact that the child was fortunate for not being brought into a world of bad people – and furthermore that the child (although deceased) only got to experience love.

“I know I’ll see the sun shine bright

Upon my baby’s face…

When I finally get to heaven,

All of my pain will be erased.

We’ll soar the skies together,

As angels two by two

We’ll have a sweet reunion,

This mother’s dream come true!”

the monument of struggle and martyrdom
The Monument of Struggle and Martyrdom

Majdanek Death Camp

Lublin, Poland

The two part memorial monument to commemorate those imprisoned in the death camp Majdanek was designed by Victor Tolkin and was constructed on the 25th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. The first part of the monument seen below and immediately to the left was erected at the entrance to the camp. As seen in the left, individuals walk down a steep slope and are confronted by jagged stones piercing the walkway. Halfway through this walkway, there is a gap in the rocks in which individuals can see the Polish city of Lublin which rests less than a mile from the camp. The large stone-mounted monument was designed to evoke the feeling of struggle. The second part of the Majdanek memorial can be seen in the bottom left. Upon climbing the steps and entering the dome,a large, uncovered mausoleum holds the ashes of around 80,000 victims of who perished during Operation Reinhard.

janusz korczak memorial
JanuszKorczak Memorial

Warsaw, Poland

This memorial commemorates JanuszKorczakwho was the director of an orphanage in Warsaw prior to the mass deportation of Jews to Treblinka. Upon being told he could walk away without being deported to his death, Janusz decided to remain with the children he cared for. He assured them and kept them docile up until his death at the death camp Treblinka. This monument in a Warsaw Cemetery commemorates his courageous act. A memorial was also erected at the Holocaust Memorial Museum of YadVashem in Jerusalem, and he is recognized as a member of the Righteous Among the Nations.


The 9/11 memorial was constructed at the site of the 2001 attacks in NYC and covers about half of the 16 acre site. Two large reflecting pools lie where the towers stood surrounded by over 400 trees. This monument is one of the most eco-friendly plaza’s in the world, utilizing irrigation& pest management systems that use harvested water. This design was chosen to reflect a “spirit of hope and renewal” according to the architect, and provides a unique space in NYC away from the standard hubbub of the city.


The following plaques all commemorate those who were lost in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, whether in the towers as they fell or servicemen/women that gave their lives to assist others. While other memorials focus on conveying the sentiments of those lost/the need to stay strong-willed, these plaques serve to honor the victims.

aceh tsunami memorial
Aceh Tsunami Memorial

The Aceh Tsunami Museum serves as a symbolic reminder of the 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian residents. In Banda Aceh, Indonesia, visitors enter into the museum and are immediately confronted with a narrow corridor with two walls of water on each side – reminiscent of the noise and panic experienced by the victims of the tsunami. The names of all the victims are inscribed on the walls of this 4-story monument to commemorate their lives.


These three monuments, 2 memorial stones and a memorial hall (left to right) all commemorate the massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese men, women, and children by the hands of Imperial China in December of 1937. Often called the “forgotten holocaust” and “the rape of Nanking,” this 6 week period is one of the deadliest in recorded history. More shocking than just the death toll was the manner in which the innocent Chinese were killed, beheadings, dismemberments, and rape were turned into contests between the Japanese soldiers. Some Japanese people today still deny the events that occurred outright.