Expressing the freedom of self-expression for Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 Fragility of freedom self portrait by illustrator Ruth Burrows.jpg
Self portrait by illustrator Ruth Burrows.

Young people are invited to reflect on the restriction and removal of freedoms through the creative expression of a self-portrait.

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, North Kesteven District Council is holding an educational art competition for secondary school students, aged 11 to 16, in order that they can express who they are and stand up against hatred. 

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) advocates international acts of remembrance and reflection on that day to the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust of the Second World War, the millions of people who lost their lives due to the discrimination inflicted upon them by the Nazis and the impacts and ongoing incidence of genocide since. 

The theme of 2024’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Fragility of freedom’, which has a different definition to every individual. In every genocide across the world it is clear that individual freedom is restricted and removed. 

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust encourage individuals ‘to come together to learn more, emphasise more and do more.’

In order to provoke a thoughtful response, young people are being encouraged to explore the ‘Fragility of freedom’ theme by expressing their identities and individual ‘freedoms’ through a self-portrait, including aspects of their life, interests, emotions, and aspirations.

A curated selection of the submissions will be exhibited at the Hub, Sleaford for a week from Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27 to February 3.

We encourage the self-portrait entries to be as creative and unique as possible and completed in any medium or multi-media, 2D or 3D and submitted in finished format or as a photo, up to A3 in size. Their impact will be assessed by visitors to the display who can nominate their favourites and prizes will be awarded.

You can find out full details of the project, visit our Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 Fragility of Freedom competition webpage.

Council leader Cllr Richard Wright, who will be joined by Sleaford artist Ruth Burrows in making the selection for display, said: 

“Self-expression is a right as much as a privilege, but with that being eroded, restricted or removed for millions of people even today, that should not be taken for granted.

“It can be difficult to make the connection between the Holocaust, historic genocides and the lives and freedoms we experience today, but the link and the legacy are strong and in 2024 it is just as important as ever that we understand and respect that.

“This exhibition aims to provide a platform for students to see their work collated and celebrate their freedom to be creative. Hopefully through this programme our young people will reflect on the fragility of freedom and how individual freedom was – and is – affected by the events of the Holocaust and more recent genocides.”

“Freedom means different things to different people. It is also fragile. In every genocide that has taken place, those who are targeted for persecution had their freedom restricted and removed through actions that ultimately concluded in their murder.

“The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s great wish is that for HMD 2024 we can all reflect on how freedom is fragile and vulnerable to abuse. As we come together through this initiative, let’s pledge not to take our freedoms for granted, and consider what we can do to strengthen freedoms around the world.” 

You can discover more information on the 2024 HMD theme and explorations on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website.

Thanks to Sleaford artist Ruth Burrows and the Hub, Sleaford for their support and participation.

For further details see the Council’s, the Hub’s and Ruth Burrows’ social media @northkestevendc, @hubsleaford and @rbartshopstudio and visit our Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 Fragility of Freedom competition webpage.

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