So far this academic year, we’ve seen some fabulous exhibits on the walls of the Leatherby Libraries Hall of Art on the first floor, behind the Reference Desk, celebrating Chapman’s history through blueprints and honoring award-winning authors with creative book covers. The Hall of Art now has another excellent exhibit up, one that showcases the collaboration between the Leatherby Libraries and the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. “Documenting History Through Art: The Work of David Labkovski (1906-1991),” the newest exhibit, is a part of the 21st annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest, the awards ceremony for which will be held this Friday, March 13th. The exhibit will be on display until March 26th. Below are excerpts from the exhibit description.

Impressionist-style painting of a busy early 20th-century European street

Strashun Library to the Synagoge, 1964

David Labkovski (1906-1991) was a narrative artist who portrayed the events of his lifetime with the purpose of bearing witness to history.

His memories take us on a journey in time and place. This exhibition follows Labkovski’s life in four phases. Beginning with his youth in Vilna, his work continues in the Soviet Union where Labkovski was imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag. Upon his release, he returned to the destruction of his beloved Vilna community during the Holocaust. Lastly, we see his personal sense of renewal as a free man living in

Witnessing history through his eyes is a powerful lesson not only in man’s inhumanity to man, but also in the resilience of the human spirit.

Most of Labkovski’s surviving work was created later in his life based on his astounding memory. His work is a detailed account of history — a visual diary of his life and experiences.

Labkovski’s work includes oils, gouache, charcoal and line drawings. He worked with any available material, often painting on burlap. The canvases on display are giclées, digital reprints of his work. The giclée are produced from works held in the collection of Barbara Barishman, Los Angeles, Patrica Flaum, South Africa, and from holdings at the David Labkovski Museum of Jewish Life, Ramat Gan, Israel.

David Labkovski’s purpose was to bear witness. We hope that this exhibition will leave a lasting impression and inspire you to continue his legacy.

For more information, visit

Sketchbook drawing in black ink on yellow paper. Foreground contains a man holding a writing instrument, with a woman wearing a headscarf and holding a child to his right. The background contains rough outlines of other figures.

Sketchbook, c. 1980s