Central to the Israeli identity is the experience and memory of the Holocaust and the emergent concept of Israel strong enough to protect itself. Survivors of the Holocaust, and the memory of those who were killed, shaped the creation of the nation. The will to survive individually and as a people made the creation of a new nation possible. The memory of the Shoah is however also a commonly felt burden, and the conflicting feelings of that memory have significantly impacted later generations. This is a memory that is at the same time omnipresent and a taboo. Imaging the unimaginable, visualizing a darkness of human existence that defies adequate representation and negates artistic interpretation, has become a central challenge and theme in Israeli visual culture.

About the Speaker: DR. ANAT GILBOA, an art historian and a visiting professor at UCLA’s Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, specializes in early-modern European art, as well as traditional and contemporary Jewish and Israeli visual culture. Her research has resulted in a in a book and in a number of publications in American and European journals and conferences. She has been teaching at various universities since earning her Ph.D. in art history at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

Dr. Gilboa’s core academic expertise is in art history. Her research, academic courses, and public talks reflect a focus on cross- disciplinary analysis of Jewish and Israeli visual culture, gender themes, history, religion, and literature. Her current research and teaching emphasis is on core themes that define modern Israeli identity and its complex representation in Israeli visual culture.