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Holocaust art installation comes home to Huddersfield
6million+
6million+ marks the many people killed in the Holocaust and other genocides

An art installation using thousands of buttons to illustrate the scale of the Holocaust and other genocides is to go on show in Huddersfield one last time.

The artwork, called 6million+, has been shown across the UK since it was originally created for Kirklees Holocaust Memorial Day in 2006.

It features buttons covering the floor and filling perspex tubes.

Returning to Huddersfield art gallery, this will be the final showing of the installation in its current form.

6million+
The art installation has been seen in many places in the UK

Created by Kirklees Museums and Galleries and West Yorkshire artist Antonia Stowe, 6million+ uses buttons - one for each life - to represent those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and other more recent genocides.

Buttons were contributed by schools, individuals, businesses and organisations, not just in Kirklees but all over the country.

Kirklees school pupils were involved in workshops discussing the Holocaust and other genocides and helped to make giant buttons for the installation which highlighted the experiences of local Holocaust survivors and refugees from persecution in places as far apart as Bhutan and Zimbabwe.

'Creating space'

Antonia Stowe said: "The installation is so much more than history. It is about creating space in people's minds to question their understanding of, and response to, genocide."

6million+ returns to Huddersfield art gallery after being on loan to a number of venues including the Guildhall in Newcastle, Brent Cross shopping centre in London, Dewsbury Museum and, most recently, Ripon Cathedral.

A visitor to the cathedral commented: "Each button is so insignificant an item and yet represents a massively significant life.

"Very, very moving. The scale is incomprehensible."

The installation also includes a film called Double Portraits which features Holocaust survivors and refugees talking about their experiences of persecution and having to make a new life in a strange country.

As well as many Holocaust survivors, contemporary refugees, including Rwandans and Zimbabweans, have also praised the installation and left messages.

Cllr Mary Harkin, Kirklees Council's cabinet member for communities and leisure, said: "This is an extremely important art installation which has stimulated many discussions with people of all ages and from many different cultures.

This is such a valuable piece of work which has allowed many to reflect on the past, the present and the future
Cllr Mark Harkin, Kirklees Council

"Thousands of people have visited this installation and have continued to donate buttons, write messages, poems, prayers and tributes.

"Some come to see a piece of art, others to talk about the past and how to create a better future.

"This is such a valuable piece of work which has allowed many to reflect on the past, the present and the future."

Permanent home

This is the last showing of 6million+ in its current form. Many of the buttons are becoming discoloured and damaged and the cost of touring is increasingly expensive.

During its stay at Huddersfield Art Gallery, discussions will be held with supporters and interested parties to try and find a permanent home for the buttons.

6 Million+ will be on show at Huddersfield art gallery from Saturday 22 January until Saturday 2 April 2010.




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