Lieba Papa is a project inspired by family postcards and documents, inherited by by family and characters from the stories I was told as a child. Collected by my late father from is ancestors in Germany and South Africa, the photographs, records, and fictional imagery are used to tell a layered and intuitive but no less true history of our family. My father Henry Lesser was born in 1919 and grew up in Berlin, immigrating to South Africa at the age of 13, just a few years before Hitler began confiscating businesses and belongings of German Jews. The postcards, used in the exhibition are from my dad to his father, who had divorced my Ouma (Grandmother) and was already living part time in London.
Two legendary German figures appear amongst the images of my father and family members. As a child my father had introduced me to Till Eulenspiegel, a fictional German trickster dating from the middle ages who was known for exposing vices, greed, folly and hypocrisy. Illustrated stories of Eulenspiegel significantly reflect a way of life and a kind of humor (from Berlin) that my father really enjoyed. Another well known German storybook character Struwwelpeter read to me caused me great angst as the stories demonstrate disastrous consequences for children who misbehave.
These characters, constantly surface in my work bringing ancestral memories of a well documented family
Introduction to “Lieba Papa” by the Atrium Gallery, Department of Aviation, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Atlanta GA.
“Lieba Papa” is a project inspired by family postcards, documents and stories which Lesley Price was told as a child. The photographs and fictional imagery are used to tell a layered and intuitive but no less true history of her family. Price’s father Henry Lesser was born in 1919 and grew up in Berlin, immigrating with his mother to South Africa at the age of 13, just a few years before Hitler began confiscating businesses and belongings of German Jews. While his father was still abroad Henry Lesser wrote postcards to him both from Berlin and South Africa, many beginning “Lieba Papa” (Dear Father), which motivated the title of this series of artworks.
As a child Price’s father also introduced her to Till Eulenspiegel, a German trickster figure dating from the middle ages who was known to exposing vices greed, folly and hypocrisy. Illustrated stories about Eulenspiegel significantly reflect a way of life and a kind of humor that Price’s father enjoyed and these also feature in her artwork.
Price also refers to another German storybook character, Struwwelpeter. These gruesome children’s stories demonstrated the “disastrous” consequences of children misbehaving. They are also a frightening reminder of the violence in Germany and of the war in general. These characters surface in Price’s work inserting themselves into her ancestral memories and bringing a dreamlike quality to these luminous collages.