Joyce Ozier: Blue Refuge
Fazakas Gallery, 688 E Hastings St., Vancouver, BC
Nov 26 – Dec 17, 2015
Joyce Ozier’s Blue Refuge explores an emotional story line of persecution, and the incredible history of Chefchauen, the Blue City. A secular Jew, Ozier connected with the history of this place. As an artist, she was drawn to the visceral experience it offered through colour. Ozier uses canvas and brush to describe an imagined journey of fear, hope, loss and refuge.
Ozier takes an imagined journey of a group of refuges fleeing Nazi Germany and documents the emotional experience using colour and expression on canvas.
As a secular Jew, I respond viscerally to Chefchauen’s place in the history of the Jewish people. To me, it is a symbol of the terror of the Nazi regime and of Jews running for their lives to find a safe haven. Those people were my ancestors. They may even have been my family. I will never know.
I respond to this place as a beautiful testament to the power of hope. The people who chose to express themselves by painting everything blue for their God, created an environment that gave them the hope they needed to go on. It helped them stay positive in a terrifying and insecure political situation, and to resume relatively normal lives once they had settled in.
I also respond to the reality with genuine sadness that there is no longer a Jewish population in Chefchauen, even though the telltale blue remains. These refugees may have been saved from incineration in Nazi extermination camps, but they were treated harshly by the Vichy regime while they were there. Their sense of safety was a dream. As a result, when they had the opportunity after WWII ended, they chose to uproot once again and leave for Israel. It is sad that their dream was temporary.
Chefchauen’s blues are ghosts. The colour remains, but no longer as homage to divinity, now rather as a testament to hope and the uncertainty of life.[/column]