An exhibition at the Lam Museum of Anthropology on the campus of Wake Forest University combines literature, music and performance to form connections with those who witnessed or lost their lives in the Holocaust.

The exhibit is called "Words, Music, Memory: Re(presenting) Voices of the Holocaust." It highlights writers bearing witness, including Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank and Nelly Sachs. A digital gallery guide includes biographies, sketches and performance adaptations by contemporary composers and performers.

Sheena Ramirez is a classical singer and co-creator of the exhibition. She will be part of a musical performance and lecture at the Brendle Recital Hall at Wake Forest University on Sunday, February 11, at 1 p.m. 

Sheena Ramirez lives in Winston-Salem and joined WFDD's Neal Charnoff for a conversation about the project. 

Interview highlights: 

On commemoration through the arts: 

"This particular exhibit allows for us to look into different perspectives of individuals; some survived and some didn't survive. But to think about the interactive quality of it, to think about that commemoration, is not something that lives only in textbooks — that lives on museum walls. It is something that is evolving as we speak."

On localizing the exhibit:

"'Words, Music, Memory' was first conceived in 2019 ... at Kennesaw State University. We were able to bring together the local community at Kennesaw as well as at James Madison University, which is where the project originated as well, and bring in different perspectives. All of the original art that you see in the exhibit was done by current students at James Madison University. And even now here at Wake Forest ... we have offerings from two local high schools, West Forsyth High School and Mount Tabor High School. The students themselves were able to contribute meaningful artwork that they found inspiring through the exhibit (and) through the accompanying gallery guide."

On the objective of the project: 

"(This exhibit) is about humanizing. It's about individual stories. It's about individual people. Every poem that is featured in the exhibit tells someone's real experience, whether they were survivors of the Holocaust, or whether they were a victim of the Holocaust and their words came to us through other means. There's something to be said about understanding at the individual level. That is such a powerful tool against racism, against anti-Semitism. Those tools are dehumanizing. And the work that we're doing in 'Words, Music, Memory' is about humanizing and about those individual stories."

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