At FIDEM Tokyo 2020/2021, the biennial Congress of the International Art Medal Federation, two medalists were chosen to share the Mel Wacks Judaica Art Medal Award, for Judaic, Biblical or Holy Land Themes: Ewa Olsczwska-Borys of Poland and Romualdas Inčirauskas of Lithuania.
Each will receive an engraved silver medal, courtesy of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, and will share the $250 prize money, presented by the Cincinnati Skirball Museum, home of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal Collection. Wacks founded the Jewish-American Hall of Fame in 1969 and has served as its director since then.
Ewa Olsczwska-Borys’ medal, titled E=mc2, is described in the catalog as:
“Albert Einstein predicted gravity waves first observed in 2015. The reverse of the medal shows the fusion of two black holes and the gravity waves this generates.”
The large (127 x 130 mm) rectangular cast bronze medal features a thoughtful Einstein in Ewa’s dramatic personal style combining incused and raised surfaces.
The other winning medal, by Romualdas Inčirauskas, portrays Chiune Sugihara. It is also rectangular, measuring 150 x 150 mm, and described in the catalog as:
“Dedicated to Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), who lived in Lithuania, in Kaunas, from 1939-1940. During World War II, he saved about 6,000 Jews from Lithuania, Poland, and Germany by issuing them with Japanese transit visas. The medal is dedicated to [his] 120th birth anniversary. The symbols on the reverse convey the tragedy of the Jewish people.”
The reverse depicts a large Star of David intertwined with scenes of Jewish victims behind barbed wire fences of the death camps, with inscriptions: “6000 lives” and a quote from Matthew 5:6-10, ending with “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
For further information about the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, visit www.amuseum.org/jahf.