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Posted 21/1/2017

Special Introduction for The JerUSAlem Connection Report on the occasion of the Inaugural Opening of the SHINING SOULS Exhibition at The European Parliament 


by Inna Rogatchi (C)

Introduction to the Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity Inaugural Exhibition at The European Parliament  - Specially for The JerUSAlem Connection Report

January 2017

Among the thirty works inaugurated at the special exhibition at The European Parliament in January 2017, there is the one about which I would like to say a few words for the readers of The JerUSAlem Connection Report.

Inna Rogatchi (C). Pat's Skies. Homage to Pat Mercer Hutchens. Shining Souls series. Inna Rogatchi (C). Pat's Skies. Homage to Pat Mercer Hutchens. Shining Souls series.

This work is my dedication to a dear friend, late Pat Mercer Hutchens and it is called PAT’s SKIES. In technique, the work is fine art photography collage, and the medium chosen reflects many layers of my thoughts regarding Pat and her mission in life.

The Shining Souls. Champions of Humanity exhibition is displayed at the European Parliament and having its European premiere there in conjunction and as a part of the commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day there.

The exhibition is built as a set of 15 pairs of art works dedicated to the Champions of Humanity, a Jewish and non-Jewish persons, those who suffered and became victims of the Shoah and those who tried and did help them and who took their pain as their own. The work dedicated to Pat Mercer Hutchens is paired with the work dedicated to Rafael Chwoles, an outstanding artist, originally from Lithuania who did survive the Holocaust but whose family had been murdered in the Vilna Ghetto.

I decided to pair those two people because of their profession, both were artists, but also because of the quality of their vision which in both case, Pat’s and Rafael’s was emphatically warm and very human, indeed. I am sure that if they would meet in life, they would be talking for long hours. As a matter of fact, Pat was telling us about several of her Jewish artist friends from Israel, and some of them did bear some either personal or professional characteristics of Rafael Chwoles, indeed.

Among the thirty Champions of Humanity whom I selected for the exhibition of the Brussels Edition 2017 of the series, most of those outstanding figures of the modern history are not with us for many years; many of them did fell the victims of Holocaust, the other passed away at the different times. There are only four heroes among the people commemorated by the exhibition who are living today. Most recently, we lost Elie Wiesel to whose memory the exhibition is dedicated. We lost Pat almost three years ago, too, after her long and extremely brave fight against cancer.  It feels as yesterday, the day when we learned about her passing.

And as many of you know when it is regards the person close to you, a dear friend, it never mends. You are living as if inside strange paradox when from one side, the place of your friend in your world is painfully empty, and when, at the same time, you do feel him or her absolutely tangibly near, and it is utterly surprising and not quite real that you cannot dial a number to chat with your friend or to see him anymore.



There are some people whose spirit was so strong and special that their presence is still felt strongly years after their passing, and in some cases, for ever. Pat was the one of such rare people who did posses that quality of spirit.

As it happened, her famed series Auschwitz Album Re-Visited happened to be her last work. She painted forty works of it for several years, battling the cancer that has attacked her mercilessly. She never complained and always smiled by that unforgettable smile of hers when her special eyes were radiating that spirit.

She cried a lot while painting the series. And Pat was not the one who cried easily. But her compassion towards the victims of the Shoah, the people whom she painted in her series – children, women, Rabbis, invalids, elderly, teenagers, just anyone from that Jewish community in Hungary sent to Auschwitz to be annihilated – was of such proportion that she could not held her tears. So she painted, her face in tears, her body in pain, but her heart on the unique mission of returning the exterminated people back to life and memory; she painted hours and days away, leaving to usher artistic and human testament of love, her legacy of compassion.

In the work I dedicated to Pat, a woman is praying next to Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem Skies are guarding the woman and inviting her to that unique dialogue to which every believer is inclined and is hopeful for.

Pat did love Israel, Jewish people, the nation of Israel with all her heart. Jerusalem was quite-essential place on the Earth for her, with the Kotel as its heart. I wanted to project with my work in her memory the love that Jewish people had for her, too, that we understood her courageous stand with heartfelt gratitude, and the Skies of Jerusalem are guarding, both safely and gently, the great spirit of that incredible woman whom we were very privileged to have as our beloved friend.