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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2019-01-04





Samuel Bak. Eye for an Eye A, B (diptic)
EYE FOR AN EYE (A), 2009 (oil on canvas), EYE FOR AN EYE (B), 2009 (oil on canvas)

There is not absolute truth in this life, only a compromise can help.

This series is dedicated to the theme of justice. Revenge causes a trail of deaths and wars. History witnesses the massacre of nations, if they follow the concept of justice “eye for eye”. The paintings depict two camps of people with their own “eye concept”. Two different camps share the burden of justice expressed in the thousand-year-old saying “an eye for an eye”. It is not clear which of the two groups has suffered or what crime was committed. Dead and static eyes, which once may have been part of one face have fallen prey to two opposite camps. There is no one truth, but there are different interpretations of the truth. 

Samuel Bak was born in 1933 in Vilnius. At the age of nine, Bak staged his first exhibition at the Vilna Ghetto. By the end of WWII, Samuel and his mother were the only members of his extensive family to survive. They were living in the displaced persons camp in Landsberg, Germany. Subsequently, the artist lived in Israel, Italy, France, and Switzerland before finally settling in the United States of America, where he continues his creative path.

Prepared by Ieva Šadzevičienė, head of VGSJM Tolerance Center and Samuel Bak Museum
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