Simon Schneiderman exhibited Preoccupied With My Father, his memoir in pictures and words at the AH! Gallery in Warkworth Ontario for three weeks from September 12 to October 9, 2016. The small public gallery was the perfect venue for an intimate exhibition that examined a child’s experience of the post WW II diaspora. Curated by Louise Lipman the venue was an ideal complement to the scale of the material. The paintings and drawings were augmented by artifacts that Simon’s father managed to retain during and after the war. These included documents from the Displaced Persons camp in Germany where Simon was born and his parents were married. The show was an immersive experience with text spanning the walls and gallery floors.
In his talk to a full house of gallery visitors Simon pointed out the contemporary links of the Holocaust refugee experience he and his parents went through to the Syrian exodus that has been in the news so much. Although the difficulties of the refugee journey have been detailed in the press, Simon made the point that a struggle that is equally difficult and bears exploring is the effort to manufacture a new life from the rubble of the old. That was very much the subject of his talk and the exhibition. Simon’s touching work illustrated not only how he came to terms with the loss of his father but the years he and his parents took to digest the upheaval caused by the Holocaust.