Demeulenaere.JudeaChristiana Pentimento

Judea Christiana: Pentimento

6” x 5”


colored pencil, polymer, gold leaf, rhinestone

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my ancestry.  While researching my paternal grandparents, Maria and Omer, both born in Belgium, I discovered that Maria’s mother’s maiden name was Mador, suggesting Hungarian heritage.  My maternal grandparents were of Polish descent.  Here, I’ve portrayed someone closely resembling my Belgian grandmother, rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage that has been passed on to me.  She is visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where an apparition of a child’s hand is visible on the left, softly clutching her long fingers—similar to the appearance of an underlying paint or drawing layer, called pentimento in art terminology.  This drawing, resembling a vintage, hand-colored photograph, also transforms the woman’s West European headdress, backed by the Main Gatehouse’s tower, into a mysterious pagoda shape.  This forms an intriguing paradox, considering that the figure is standing in front of the infamous gates to the camp, where hundreds of thousands of Poles and Hungarian Jews perished, alongside Belgians, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and countless others.  It’s also ironic that Germany and Japan, two of the Axis powers of WWII, factor into this drawing in such an unusual manner.