It Never Rained on Rhodes Project Statement

It Never Rained on Rhodes is about the universality of loss -- loss of place, heritage, community and cultural identity -- as explored through the lens of one small community that suffered unspeakable losses 70 years ago. 

Five hundred years prior, the Jewish community on the Aegean island of Rhodes was formed in response to the Spanish Inquisition. In 1944, 1,673 people were shipped to Auschwitz from Rhodes, the farthest locale from which the Nazis deported Jews.

Six months later when Auschwitz was liberated, only 151 of Rhodes’ Jewish community survived. 

Few returned home. 

The 30-minute three-channel video that anchors the project is not intended as an historically accurate documentary, but as a contemporary abstraction of one community's story. It avoids specific geographic, demographic and historic references, in order to transform the story of one community into a vehicle that emotionally engages broad audiences in the shared emotions of loss. The island becomes a metaphor for any place the viewer imagines it to be and the losses expressed by those in the film become the losses experienced by the audience.

The video is part of a larger photography and video art installation project. It includes audio, objects and text as well as video and photography shot in four countries in 2013 of the surviving Jews that were born on Rhodes and 300 descendants. The life-size photographic portraits have been digitally composited into a continuous mural 6-feet tall that reimagines the community that may have existed were its future not so harshly truncated.