Archive for the ‘Ripple Project Vignettes’ Category

Daniel Terna, Brooklyn NY

I first met Daniel Terna through his father, painter and Holocaust survivor Fred Terna. The Ripple Project has worked with Fred on several projects, including the multimedia exhibition Mirrors, and Shared Memory, a short film about his life of survival through art and creativity. At the premier of Shared Memory, Fred revealed to me he had a 20 something year old son named Daniel —  whose photography work was transitioning into the pursuit of film. Upon meeting Daniel at their brownstone in Brooklyn, I was surprised to learn this aspiring filmmaker was interested in making a film about his father’s road trips across the United States with his first wife Stella some 40 years ago. Inspired by images taken by Fred and Stella, Daniel set out fo retrace their travels, retake their images and frame the story of a woman who died before he was born. The short film Daniel Terna documents this journey of discovery for The Ripple Project’s Vignettes Series.

 

Excutive Producers: Micheal McDevitt and Liron Unreich

Directed by Dylan Angell

Director of Photography  Tal Unreich

Edited by Joe Morgan

Additional footage shot by Daniel Terna

Photos by Fred Terna

Music by Phantom Fauna

 

 

Miriam Friedman Morris

David Friedman(n) [1893-1980] was a renowned painter and graphics artist in Berlin renowned for his portraits drawn from life. His quick-sketching talents led to an additional career as a leading press artist of the 1920’s. However, almost his complete works were looted by the Gestapo in 1941. David depicted human fate as a refugee in Prague, as a prisoner in the Lodz Ghetto, in the Gleiwitz I sub-camp of Auschwitz, and as a survivor. He survived the Lodz Ghetto by sketching portraits of officials in exchange for provisions. In Gleiwitz I, his artistic skills were recognized and his life spared by the whims of the SS. His wife and little daughter were ultimately killed despite his efforts to save them. Though David eventually remarried and built a new life first in Czechoslovakia, then Israel, Chicago, and finally in St. Louis, Missouri, he continued painting scenes from his tortured past. The responsibility of bearing witness weighed heavily on his conscience, even before his liberation. To give form to all that misery, to show it to the world – this was always his intent. Torn from his memories, he created the powerful series, Because They Were Jews!

David’s daughter Miriam from his second marriage has spent her life consumed by a drive to rescue his legacy from oblivion and ensure its rightful place in history. Knowing that his work would best survive through her own perseverance, Miriam has found herself on her own journey which has led to personal discovery unveiling lost history and prewar works. David’s art weaves a tapestry of the joys and horrors that he experienced, witnessed and chronicled. Significant exhibitions of her father’s art resulting from her successful pursuits have created a stronger conviction to preserve the legacy of David Friedmann for future generations.

Vignettes – Benjamin Graham: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, USA

The first meal I ever shared with Fayaz was over a year ago. I was an intern at the International Rescue Committee and Fayaz had just arrived in Washington DC via Afghanistan, carrying little more than a green card and a suitcase. As an intern, my primary responsibility was to help resettling refugees adapt to life in America, and on one particular afternoon, this meant driving with Fayaz to a social services office in northern Virginia.

We spent the afternoon filling out food stamp applications and sitting through inconclusive interviews, all of which left us annoyed and hungry by the end of the day. On the drive back, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce Fayaz to the most American of cuisines, a value meal at McDonald’s.

Up to this point Fayaz had taken to America rather easily, navigating the DC metro system and applying for a credit card by himself, but he was completely stumped as he stood in front of the McDonald’s menu. I advised him to stay away from the Big Mac for a while, and that the grilled chicken sandwich would be a safe choice for a beginner.

Eying the sandwich suspiciously, Fayaz took his first bite; chewed slowly – paused – and then spat the food back into its bag. “You didn’t tell me there was pork on this!” he snorted, pulling a translucent strip of bacon from his mouth with his thumb and index finger. I apologized and explained that I didn’t eat at McDonald’s often and I hadn’t known that the grilled chicken sandwich came with bacon. I had also momentarily forgotten that Muslims don’t eat pork.

Fayaz wouldn’t take another bite, but he did enjoy the fries. As he munched, he explained to me that there weren’t any pigs in Afghanistan, except maybe in a zoo, and their certainly wasn’t any bacon. I was fascinated that he could be happy in life without bacon, but he assured me it was possible. I continued to ask more questions about his country and his home life, all of which I knew surprisingly little about considering the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

This would prove to be the experience that propelled our relationship past the realm of just work, because a few weeks later, after my internship ended, I got a call from Fayaz inviting me to an Afghan restaurant. I had introduced him to American food, now it was his turn to return the favor. We kept in contact over the next couple months, sometimes meeting up for Afghan food, but never going back to McDonald’s.

I didn’t stay in DC for long, and after a stint working for a newspaper in Nepal, I began making plans to move to New York. I was already in the city, going down my list of acquaintances and moving from couch to couch as I hunted for apartments, when Fayaz called. It had been several months since we last talked, and coincidentally he was now living with a friend in Brooklyn.

When I asked about his couch situation, he said that he didn’t have one, but that I was welcome to stay with him and his friend for the entire month if I was okay with being a little cramped. I was okay with it.

-Ben Graham

ben@therippleproject.com

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