COC Library opens student art gallery with animated documentary

“When Man to Man is Wolf” exhibit piece at College of the Canyons student art gallery. COC courtesy art
Individuals look at art pieces from the "When Man to Man is Wolf" exhibit at College of Canyons.  Photo Courtesy of Juan Renteria
Individuals look at art pieces from the “When Man to Man is Wolf” exhibit at College of Canyons. Photo Courtesy of Juan Renteria

Students at College of the Canyons are paying tribute to the spirit and life of one Holocaust survivor.

With its inaugural exhibit of “When Man to Man is Wolf,” COC’s student art gallery is detailing the life of 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Lidia Budgor through an animated documentary based on Budgor’s personal narrative.

The project was a collaboration between COC’s Advanced Animation Class and the Righteous Conversations Project in association with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH).

The exhibit’s title comes from the Latin proverb “homo hominy lupus est,” which translates to “man is wolf to another man,” and describes situations where people behaved in cruel and inhuman ways.

Larry Hurst, COC’s art gallery director, said the approximately seven-minute documentary features charcoal animation and rough sketches that are based on an interview the class had with Budgor.

“All of the animation is in black and white and is done with charcoal on paper,” he said.  “It really captures the mood of the time.”

Budgor, a sole survivor of a family of nine, narrates scenes that detail years between the outbreak of war in Poland in 1939, life in the Lodz Ghetto, Budgor’s deportation to Auschwitz, the death march to Baltic Sea and her liberation by Russian soldiers in 1945.

The drawings all have a similar thread to them to create a single, moving experience, Hurst said.

“The life of Lidia Budgor is a testament to the triumph of human spirit,” said Masha Vasilkovsky, a COC animation instructor in charge of the project in a press release.  “A person of courage, Lidia’s inner strength and beauty has had the most profound impact on all of our souls.”

Hurst said “When Man to Man is Wolf” was a fitting inaugural exhibit because of the nature of the project and its educational opportunities for historical references or psychological references.

“I was excited about having it as our inaugural show because it’s so serious and it covers so much information,” he said.  “It’s a hard act to follow.”

The opening of the student art gallery was a 10-year effort for Hurst, who continued to request a space for students to take ownership of.

When COC’s Valencia campus began to expand, Hurst saw an opportunity to use the Library’s annex meeting space as an exhibition space.

“Students will now have an outlet 12 months of the year,” Hurst said.  “This gives them a different kind of outlet with a focus on a specific project.”

COC’s student art gallery is open during library hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays and is free and open to the public.

“When Man to Man is Wolf” will be on display until Nov. 17.

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