Sophomores Visit Boston

Credits to Mrs. Foley

Credits to Mrs. Foley

Katie Coen, Contributor

On Thursday and Friday of last week, the honors sophomore English classes went to the Pucker Gallery, located on Newbury Street in Boston. While the students were there they were able to view and interact with the artwork of Samuel Bak, a Polish-Jewish painter and writer who survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel in 1948 and now lives in the U.S. During the Friday trip, Mrs. Foley and Mrs. Marotta set up a scavenger hunt of things to take note of within and around the gallery and on Newbury Street. 

The field trip was planned to coincide with the reading of the memoir Night, by Elie Wiesel. The book, for those that are not aware, is about a young boy’s life and ultimate survival of the concentration camps. The English classes looked at art from other Holocaust survivors as well during their time at the gallery.

Both Bak and Wiesel used central themes of loss of faith in God from events during the Holocaust as an inspiration for their work. Mr. Pucker, the gallery owner, talked about how Bak lost his faith, and how he couldn’t  believe God would do something that horrible to his people. 

In class, students were shown pictures of some of Samuel Bak’s work, but their was no justice in what was seen in class to the real paintings. The artwork was magnificent and it felt as if the images came right off the page. One crowd favorite was “The Family”, a painting full of faces. This was the painting they studied most in class, which is what made seeing the real thing even more exciting.

Samuel Bak’s new 2017 collection was titled “Chance”. Dice were depicted and were used and shown falling apart to symbolize Bak’s life as a survivor. Bak also used numbers in many of his paintings in this collection, which are symbols. One painting highlighted the number 6, which stands for the 6th commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” and the fact that 6 million Jews were murdered during the time of the Holocaust. Symbols of religion and the Holocaust showed up clearly in many pieces of his work. Pears are also another favorite of Bak’s to include in his work, as well as Lady Justice.

As for the scavenger hunt, the students used an iPhone app called “Goose Chase”. This allows one to pose questions to groups of students. You can answer questions with pictures, videos, and words, which makes the challenges interesting. Throughout the day, more challenges were added, so the students were always on their toes and made the trip even more engaging.

Bak’s work and this gallery are a must see. If you find yourself on Newbury Street in Boston, think about stopping by the Pucker Gallery to look at art from Samuel Bak and many more!