YOUNG ARTIST IS DRAWN TO SURVIVORS
THEY SAY a picture is worth a thousand words, but student artist Gideon Summerfield might consider that estimate modes t . O v e r 1 0 weeks last summer, Summerfield set himself the challenge of befriending members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre in Hendon and then getting their consent to sketch their portraits. But what started as a means of keeping artistically busy before going off to study illustration at Cardiff University turned into a commitment to preserve the legacy of his subjects. They include a woman wearing the ring given to her by her wartime lover before he was killed by Nazi soldiers; a man displaying the concentration camp tattoo that was etched across his arm more than 70 years ago; and a loving couple, 62 years married, who met after the war.
“I’d always heard bits and pieces about Holocaust survivors, but nothing in great detail,” explains Summerfield, 19, who studied at JFS and Hampstead Fine Arts College.
“But as I sat drawing them, many began to open up about their experiences and we formed really strong friendships. It became less about the pictures and more about my time in their company.”
Word of his project spread quickly around the survivors centre, which supports 550 people. Eventually, he completed 10 portraits, all in biro and each the result of a week in the company of the subject.
“It felt very natural to talk to them. They would hear about my life, I would hear about theirs. But then it would hit
‘AS I DREW THEM, WE FORMED STRONG FRIENDSHIPS’
Artist’s impression: Vera and Avram Schaufeld with Gideon Summerfield’s drawing