Six Million, The Holocaust Memorial (2006 – present)

Six Million Documentary
Copyright 2010 Denise Martin


“Six Million” is an interdisciplinary work of process art memorializing the Jewish people exterminated during the Holocaust.  Each of the six million killed is commemorated with a black ink impression of the friction ridges of my right forefinger.  When the final fingerprint is made in 2030, “Six Million” will include 50,000 letter-size sheets of 65-lb. acid-free paper. Since I began the project more than twelve years ago, over 25,025 pages have been completed; each page contains 120 fingerprints arranged on an 8.75” x 7.5” grid.  Further, the project has grown into a multi-layered work of art that has at various times employed two-dimensional digital art, creative writing, installation, and most recently, video.  “Six Million” takes an original and imaginative approach to content and form because, in truth, it has no beginning and it has no end; there can be no “closure” to the devastation and loss wrought by the Holocaust.  “Six Million” explores the universal themes of family, segregation, isolation, survival, and hope; it is a testament to the unconquerable human spirit.  It achieves this through the emotional connection established between the emphatic, direct fingerprints and the lifetimes of the persons they represent. Ultimately, the project is shaped by the life experiences of all who witness its evolution. Over the years, many people have visited my studio to bear witness to “Six Million”; their reactions – varying from shock to sadness to reflection to awe – somehow inform and nurture the ongoing creative process. My simple studio has become a repository of these powerful emotions, which sustain me as I continue the work.

The current fingerprint sub-total is 3003000.