FloArts presents “The Faces to Remember Project” by Agnes Lopez
by Penny Powell
The Florida School of the Arts (FloArts) will present the gallery exhibition “The Faces to Remember Project,” portraits of Filipino World War II veterans, Holocaust survivors and a pioneer in Duval County education by Florida-based editorial and commercial photographer Agnes Lopez, who is the staff photographer for “Jacksonville Magazine.” The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, opens with a reception on Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. at FloArts’ Fine Arts Gallery located at the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College (SJR State) and will be on display through April 15. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and during Main Stage performances.
“With each portrait in ‘The Faces to Remember Project,’ I want to record my subject’s story indelibly,” said Lopez. “So far, I have met and photographed Holocaust survivors, the first African-American schoolteacher at a historically all-white school in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and Filipino veterans of World War II, who shed blood for the United States and then had to fight another 75 years to even be recognized for their service and sacrifices.”
Lopez’s project started with the portrait of her client’s grandmother, Ella Rogozinski, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Budapest, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the death march to Bergen-Belsen. Lopez then expanded the scope of the project to include veterans in South Carolina, eventually traveling across the country to San Francisco to a gathering of Filipino World War II veterans. “`The Faces to Remember Project’ touches on themes of inclusion and historical representation, one portrait at a time,” she said.
Lopez, who is of Filipino descent, noted that it is her history as the child of immigrants, as well as the currently charged political times that have inspired her to use her photography platform to tell immigrant stories that have been so easily forgotten.
“My hope is that the people I photograph will see their participation in this project as an opportunity to receive a definitive portrait of themselves in the twilight of their life, so it can be an heirloom for their families, and that viewers of the portraits will be inspired to learn more about the events in history that each person endured,” Lopez explained.
To learn more about Lopez and “The Faces to Remember Project,” visit www.thefacestoremember.com.
Florida School of the Arts, which serves the entire state of Florida, is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards associate degrees in acting, dance performance, musical theater, stage management, theater technology, graphic design/new media and studio art. For more information, call (386) 312-4300 or visit floarts.org.
“The Faces to Remember Project” by Florida-based photographer Agnes Lopez opens at the Florida School of the Arts’ Fine Arts Gallery on March 7 and will be on display until April 15. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and during Main Stage performances.
Lopez met and photographed Holocaust survivors on the First Coast, which resulted in portraits that inspired her to expand the project. Other photographs include the first African-American schoolteacher to teach at a historically all-white school in Lopez’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and Filipino veterans of World War II.
Bevelyn Washington Demps, 103, First African-American teacher at Justina Road Elementary School.
Ella Lucak Rogozinski, 91, Holocaust survivor, Auschwitz.
Patricio Ganio, 97, World War II veteran and Bataan Death March survivor.
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