Melpomene & The Trinity of Mourning: Clean All the Stolpersteine

APRIL 6, 2019 until MAY 5, 2019

Full Circle Gallery is pleased to present Melpomene & the Trinity of Mourning: Clean all the Stolpersteine, a solo exhibition showcasing the work of Leah Michaels.


Melpomene & the Trinity of Mourning is a three-part series of work focusing on the role of public space, public memory, and the rituals of mourning. Clean all the Stolpersteine is one element that centers in on the Stolpersteine memorials placed in front of Holocaust Jewish victims houses’ in commemoration by German artist Gunter Demnig in the early 1990s. The title, Melpomene, refers to the Greek Muse of sorrow and tragedy; a fitting figure for this series since Micheals dresses in all black and ritually cleans the Stolpersteine, located on the ground, in a ritual of repentance and a reflection on her own German and Italian bloodlines.


Michaels ritualistic cleaning of the European Stolpersteine calls into mind that America has no such memorials and has not fully accounted for its own accounts, violence and discrimination against Japanese and Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps. They also raise awareness of America’s turning away of Jewish immigrants and others seeking asylum, an act still being committed today.


Michaels’ work is a series of repentance for the past but also a questioning of our future.

Leah Michaels is a filmmaker and intermedia artist from Baltimore, Maryland. She received a B.A. in History with a focus in Classics from the University of Washington in Seattle and is a MFA Candidate in Intermedia and Digital Art program at UMBC. Raised as a feminist Catholic with a focus on social justice, her work is rooted in ritual, performance, narrative, and activism.