The winning poster by Italian graphic design student Gulia De Benedetti
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06 April 2016
On 6 April 2016, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev presented the award to the winner of this year's national Poster Competition for Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.
For the first time, the winning poster was submitted by an Italian student: 24-year-old Gulia De Benedetti, from Torino, Italy. A graphic design student, De Benedetti has visited Israel many times, most recently participating in an exchange program with the Holon Institute for Technology, where she learned about the contest and decided to submit her artwork for consideration.
This year, colleges and high schools in the field of design from around the country joined the contest. Many of the applicants attended the special preparatory sessions held at their schools or colleges, and a day seminar at Yad Vashem, during which they were given a guided tour of the Holocaust History Museum.
The 94 posters that were submitted for the judge's consideration reflected the fresh, artistic and creative thinking of the applicants in their approach to the subject of Holocaust memory and commemoration.
This year's panel of judges comprised Israel's finest graphic design teachers, headed by Israel Prize laureate David Tartakover. In making their final decision, the judges felt that the fingerprint fashioned out of barbed wire fragments "brings a symbolic minimalism to one of the most dominant Holocaust symbols, thus enabling us to reconsider its significance. In this instance, the individual fingerprint is the collective fingerprint, reflecting the genetic existence of the Jewish people as a whole. This typography raises questions of deconstruction and unravelling versus gathering and assembly, thus evoking reflection on the Holocaust and Holocaust memory over the years. The artist's fresh approach to the subject overwhelms the viewer with her statement about man's identity and the attempt to preserve the human spirit and identity during the Holocaust and in its aftermath."
"You have created a very good piece of art," said Chairman Shalev at the ceremony. "A good piece of art speaks to a variety of audiences; each one can interpret it according to their own understanding; the creation is lean, without too many details, but as you look at it you see more and more. It no longer belongs just to you: The work is now part of the public domain, and together with the teachers' guide prepared by our International School for Holocaust Studies, will stimulate discussion in classrooms across the country."
"In Italy, we study the Holocaust in middle school as part of our history syllabus," explained De Benedetti. "My father's family fled Italy in 1938 when the racial laws came into effect, and the survivors I know seem to suffer in silence. I wanted my creation to reflect that - a minimalist piece, while making a bold statement about the identity (the fingerprint) that changed in the aftermath of the Shoah - for the individual, for the Jewish people and for the world as a whole. For me, the pieces of barbed wire and the recognizable yellow in the background remind us that the Holocaust left all of us with permanent scars.
"I'm very honored to have been chosen the winner of the 2016 poster contest in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and would like to thank Yad Vashem for the opportunity, as well as the State of Israel: I feel so at home here."
The winning poster is currently being distributed throughout the country in the approach to Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, and will accompany State events commemorating the Shoah.