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Chai: A Public Art Concept to Remember

Explore the interactive Holocaust memorial symbolizing hope, inviting participation, and transforming darkness into light.

By Yitzchok Moully

Published Jan 6, 2023



This Curation is part of Holocaust.

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Partnering with the March of the Living and Chabad Warsaw, I was commissioned to create a memorial for the Holocaust to be part of the program in 2020. Of course, due to Covid-19, the March of the Living was canceled, along with almost everything in the world.

Every soul that joins the March of the Living is a testament to the present and future of the Jewish people. As an artist, I attempt to visualize this powerful concept in an interactive sculpture. The March of the Living honors and reflects the past while looking to the future.

Conveying this dichotomy in a participatory manner is the goal of this installation. Conveying both contemporary culture and eternal Jewish symbolism, we begin with an 8-foot tall and 4-foot wide sculpture of #Chai or “Hashtag Chai” in Hebrew, painted completely black.

The Hebrew letters Chet and Yud together are a universally recognized symbol of life. Adding a contemporary # (Hashtag) draws a parallel between the two symbols. Chai is not only a historic symbol of Jewish life, but very much a contemporary symbol as well.

Beginning as a black sculpture is a recognition of the dark reality of the Holocaust that is being memorialized at the March of the Living. But the black sculpture is only the beginning. Every participant on the March of the Living is asked to “bring life” to the sculpture and transform the darkness into light!

Each participant at the march is to be given a sticker in the shape of a flame with the Hebrew Chai on it. Each participant is be engaged as to their power to move the Jewish people forward, and asked to place their sticker on the black sculpture.

The sheer volume of Jewish souls stepping forward, stickers in hand, transforms the piece into a testament of the power of the Jewish people to endure the darkest moments of history and stand strong and proud.

This memorialization of the Holocaust and the enduring spirit of the Jewish people does not just belong in Warsaw, it belongs in front of every Holocaust museum around the world.


Yitzchok Moully is a conceptual artist with work exploring the intersection of spirituality and the material world.


Jewishness past and present

Think about your relationship to Jewish identity - historic and contemporary. How do you blend the two?

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