The shocking image that inspired this striking painting will no doubt be familiar to you: it’s of a little boy and his family being rounded up at gunpoint following the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. It’s one of most instantly identifiable images of the entire war. Michael was drawn to the image in its own right and also because of his own Jewish family connections, which stretches back to early 19th century Poland and Germany. The sharp fractured shapes on the canvas indicate the fracturing of the world around these people and the multiplicity of images disappearing into the distance speak of the horrendous death toll for all. That Michael’s youngest child was a similar age to the boy in the photo added a deeper meaning to creating this work.
And here’s the photo: