Photographic Exhibition and Slideshow 19–23 June 2023, Curated by Jana Riedel and Matthew Shaul

Produced during the summer of 2020, the Living Memory project showcases artist Catrine Val’s poignant and astonishing photographic portraits of London’s Jewish community. The project was produced during the profound dislocation caused by the pandemic and as the Holocaust begins to slip slowly from ‘living memory’.

Val’s unique photographic portraits feature Holocaust survivors and those whose parents arrived as part of the ‘Kindertransport’, as well as Jewish families from all over the world who have made London their home. The project has personal resonance for Val, who is engaged in an ongoing process of seeking context and greater understanding of her own German-Jewish heritage, a history which she has only recently been able to acknowledge and engage with.

Rita. Living Memory, Catrine Val ©

Val’s images record impressions of arrival and integration, people’s relationships with countries from which they, or their families, were exiled in the late 1930s and their observance – or not – of their Jewish faith. Interesting questions about language are raised by sitters who ceased to speak German or chose not to pass the language onto their children. With the advent of Brexit some sitters have started to engage – in some cases ambivalently – with the process of restoring their lapsed German or native citizenship. Many have spent a lifetime engaged with the question of where they are from and where they belong.

Living Memory is part of Migration: a public history festival,  a series of lectures, exhibitions, workshops and walks around London, supported by the Raphael Samuel History Centre. The exhibition will be shown alongside the Wiener Library’s Holocaust Letters exhibition.

Living Memory was originally curated and organised in 2020 by Queen Mary University of London Visiting Research Fellow Dr Jana Riedel and PhD Candidate Matthew Shaul, supported by the German Embassy and Goethe-Institut London through the initiative ‘Stand Together and Go Virtual’.

Based in Kassel, Germany, Catrine Val is internationally recognised for her series of contemporary photographic portraits and self-portraits. Her remarkable photographs compare favourably with luminaries of the fashion and art worlds like Mario Testino and David la Chappelle. Catrine is an authority on the work of the German Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt and her conjectures on the nature of evil.

Email Matthew Shaul, [email protected] for further details.

Instagram @living_memory2020