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Vivian Bower

Rwanda series #44 ,USA , 1995

Pastel/Xerox,
60X50 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Holocaust Museum, Florida

Vivian Bower probes the mysteries of the Rwanda genocide in a series of 250 works in pastels or prints which she has entitled "The Rwandan Series". The imagery in this series is alternatively human or more abstract. All were developed from negatives with incomplete outlines of persons and ominous locations. It is artwork created in a strange land, in shock at the denial of human rights.

“From the isolation of my studio,” says Bower “and from its remoteness, I tried to ‘bear witness’, as I borrowed the horrifying words and images that reached me through the mediation of the communications media, and integrate them into the paintings. By means of photographs and texts I created images, occasionally ‘burying’ them the way they buried the bodies themselves, to make it possible to re-discover them by means of a close inspection of the painting; sometimes I piled them up, the way bodies pile up as they are flung into mass graves; sometimes I created faces devoid of features, with the intention of representing the thousands of men, women and children murdered with such great violence during that tragic period.”