The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - BYCHARLOTTEOLIVER

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


Artist’s im­pres­sion: Vera and Avram Schaufeld with Gideon Sum­mer­field’s draw­ing

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