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Art honors Holocaust victims

Memorial exhibit based on photos from museum archives

A Holocaust Memorial Exhibit will be at the Bothwell Arts Center from Sunday to Tuesday, sponsored by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the Chabad of the Tri-Valley.

The free exhibit has been designed to coincide with Yom HaShoah, "Holocaust Remembrance Day," which recognizes the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. It is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an opening reception at 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Holocaust Memorial Exhibit is the vision of local artist Larry Lagin, a former Lawrence Livermore Lab scientist who retired in 2014. The display features Lagin's paintings based on photographs from the archives through a use agreement with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Lagin made a visit to the Holocaust Museum in 1995 shortly before coming to the lab from Princeton University. The visit had a profound impact on him, Lagin said, and served years later as an inspiration when he returned to his former passion for art.

A Holocaust sculpture at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco led him to look at the Holocaust Museum's photo archive. When he came upon two photographs of Jewish children wearing Jewish stars, he first sketched, then painted them. His initial work led to a series of 20 paintings over the course of the next few years.

Lagin says he felt the Holocaust victims in the photos "were calling out to me" and says he wanted "to honor them and to pay my respects for them" though his work. Of the original 20 works in the series, 14 will be on display. Three color portraits of local Holocaust survivors were also part of the series but were gifted to the subjects by the artist. None of the remaining paintings is for sale.

More than 20 years ago, Lagin was responsible for bringing the popular Science on Saturday program to Livermore from Princeton. He said he hopes that high school students, their parents and teachers will come to the Holocaust Memorial Exhibit; a special reception for high school students will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday.

Kosher refreshments for both receptions will be provided by Chabad. Special group viewings can also be arranged in advance; contact Anne Giancola at agiancola@lvpac.org.

Since the exhibit contains some audio-visual materials that are partly graphic in nature, the exhibit is most appropriate for high school age and older. Bothwell Arts Center is located at 2466 Eighth Ave. in Livermore.

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