As a visual artist, I use photographic imagery in a variety of forms for the purpose of expression and the investigation of ideas. A Story of Rose’s is a biographical narrative about my mother, Rosette Volk, a holocaust survivor whose journey brought her from Cuba, to France and later to the United States. While it is not a complete history, A Story of Rose’s touches on a number of points in time and significant events that I believe shaped and changed my mother’s identity.

This body of work emphasizes 2 significant points in my mother’s life that were great mysteries to me: her imprisonment during the holocaust and late in life, the onset of dementia. There is no question that my mother’s internment at the Vittel camp was pivotal and life-altering, yet it was an experience that she could not share or discuss. Dementia left my mother locked away in an inaccessible place. Both of these represent forces outside of my mother’s control that dramatically altered her life. In both cases it was difficult to reconcile how and why they occurred.

As an artist I am not interested in personal narratives as an end unto themselves but as vehicles for larger ideas that extend beyond the life of a particular individual. By making images, I attempt to bring experiences that could not be discussed and feelings that could not be expressed into concrete form. Sharing my mother’s life experiences during the Holocaust and after is an act of remembrance, but it is also an investigation. My hope is that the complexity of my mother’s story enables the viewer to reflect on fragmentation, on loss, on adaptation, and on rebuilding.

 

About Rosette Volk and Vittel