Akiva Kenneth Segan (b. 1950, New York) has been a working artist in Seattle, Washington since 1980. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in printmaking and drawing from Southern Illinois University and the University of Missouri.

Segan was first introduced to Poland (outside of "Fiddler on the Roof") in the mid-1970s while an undergraduate art student in southern Illinois. Segan's late campus Hillel rabbi, Earl Vinecour, of blessed memory, and a student classmate, Chuck Fishman, currently living north of New York City where he is a commercial photographer, were the author-photographer team that created Polish Jews: The Final Chapter (McGraw Hill, NY 1977).

His summer studies and travels in Communist-era Poland in the mid 1980s had a profound impact on his thinking, leading to the creation of Under the Wings of G-d, a monumental art series on the Holocaust for children, youth and adults. This project, underway since 1991, is designed to enable youth of all backgrounds to learn about the Holocaust and genocide using the non-threatening and universally understood media of art. In 1994 he created his first slide class, which combined wings art with the art of a late survivor, Israel Bernbaum, drawn from Bernbaum's book, My Brother's Keeper: The Holocaust Through the Eyes of an Artist (Putnam, NY 1985).

Segan's op-ed articles on a variety of topics have appeared in The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Jewish Transcript of Seattle, and The Christian Science Monitor. He has developed Holocaust remembrance programs for congregations in both Jewish synagogues and Christian churches.

Segan has presented slide classes in five states, England and Israel. In Israel (1999) he presented a workshop for educators from across the world at The Second International Conference on the Holocaust and Education at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Education. Segan's latest slide class is entitled "The Imagination of Remembrance: The Drawings and Paintings of Polish Jewish Holocaust Survivor Toby Knobel Fluek." Based on Fluek's book, Memories of My Life in a Polish Village 1930-49 (Alfred A. Knopf, NY 1990), the class is designed for youth audiences of all backgrounds.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is of great concern to Segan, especially since, in his words, "the polarization between both peoples is threatening to engulf everyone in needless bloodshed while the dehumanization of 'the other' has become a paramount way of thinking for many Jews and Palestinians alike."

A working artist, Segan works part-time for the city public library and is active in Congregation Eitz Or in Seattle, a Renewal movement synagogue community. He has been a volunteer with the State Dept of Corrections for about five years, doing "Jewish studies" with about 15 or more Jewish state prison inmates at prisons near Seattle. Other interests include dayhiking and voracious news reading (a New York Time junkie since the age of ten, he says). He is foster uncle, once removed, to two parakeets, a cockatiel and a peach-faced lovebird.         Contact the artist The artist's website

UNDER THE WINGS OF G-d Introduction



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