In conjunction with “National Older Americans Month,” the Educational Alliance is hosting a very special opening in their Whittaker Gallery this afternoon: An exhibit of Drawings by Nathan Hilu.
The Educational Alliance writes: Nathan Hilu is an 83 year old artist who has been drawing almost everyday of his life…(He) draws local shops, shop keepers, synagogues and sites of the Lower East Side. He also does drawings of Jewish Holidays and biblical scenes. Nathan was born in New York City, raised in Pittsburgh, was in the army at the end of World War II, and later was stationed in Korea. At 18 years old, he was a security guard at the Nuremberg trials. In 2008, working from his vivid visual memory, Nathan did a series of drawings of the Nuremberg prison and the occupants. These drawings are in the Holocaust Resource Center Archives at Queensborough Community College. Among other things in his colorful life – when Nathan was sitting on the sidewalk drawing he met Salvador Dali who signed the back of Nathan’s drawing… On his return to New York after the army Rabbi Spiegel helped Nathan find an apartment on Willett Street.
Mr. Hilu has been living on Willett Street ever since, drawing daily with any kind of materials he can find. When I met with him last week, he proudly showed me the drawings in his show and explained in detail what each drawing depicted. “My work is cartooning, that’s what I do,” he said. We looked at his drawings of the Bialystoker Synagogue, Shapiro’s Wine, Doughnut Plant, and a Spanish restaurant, among others. “You see, what I’m trying to show here, because this is the Lower East Side, I’m putting Jewish, Chinese, Latin all together,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.
Opening reception and meet the artist: Tuesday, April 27, 2pm to 4pm at Educational Alliance – 197 E. Broadway. The exhibit will be on view from Monday, April 26 to May 7, 2010