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Artist Recounts Her Family's WWII Experiences in Upcoming Hartnell College Gallery Show

July 28, 2002

Artist Robin Kandel of Santa Cruz recounts her family's experiences during World War II-including two years of hiding from the Nazis-in a mixed media exhibit that opens Monday, August 26, at the Hartnell College Seminar Gallery. It will run through Sept. 27.

An opening reception will be held at 6 p.m. August 26.

The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and by appointment. Admission is free.

In the exhibit, titled "Story 1.run," Kandel uses videotapes, audiotapes and mixed media, including earth, to make sense of audiotapes her father made in 1983 in which he described his childhood during World War II in the Ukraine. During that time, he hid in a forest for nearly two years to escape being killed by the Nazis. He was accompanied by his mother, younger brother, his grandfather and two uncles.

When Kandel first heard the tapes, she said she "was struck by accounts of literally running for one's life, not once or twice but many times. What could this be like? I have no desire to recreate the experience of running in the woods, wearing makeshift shoes, while people are firing machine guns at me. But I did feel the need to enter the periphery of that world in order to begin to understand it."

She said she went to her local woods and "let my imagination assume a role while I ran with a camera in hand. I scared myself a little, but mostly I realized that I might be one of those 'people who just couldn't keep up (and) remained behind.' Of course, remaining behind meant almost certain death."

Represented by the Andrea Schwartz Gallery of San Francisco, Kandel has exhibited there as well as the Mirage Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, the Michigan Union Gallery in Ann Arbor, Mich., and several other galleries in Santa Cruz. She received her bachelor's degree in painting from the University of Michigan and is the recent recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

Hartnell College is located at 411 Central Ave. in Salinas. The gallery is in the college's Visual Art Facility on the Alisal Street side of the campus. For more information, call gallery director Eric Bosler at (831) 755-6792.