This month, renowned local artist Yury Kanzburg’s Ecclesiastes exhibit takes over Forever Young. With twelve hand-sketched, intricate interpretations of the twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes, artist Yury Kanzburg offers an interesting and insightful look into the rich biblical text. As one of the twenty-four books of Torah, Ecclesiastes is a parable stressing: life is meaningless. Whether this is a positive or negative realization is something both the Old Testament and Kanzburg leave for the audience to decide. Each sketch includes the supposed narrator of the twelve chapters, “Son of David, king of Jerusalem,” looking on with age and wisdom. An hourglass, a menorah, a skull, and many other images are worked into the twelve pieces, ranging from biblical symbols to traditional symbols of age and time. All of this together sends a powerful message, especially if you consider where the exhibit hangs.
Forever Young Adult Day Care center has specialized in assisted senior living for the last ten years in the Chicago-area, often displaying local and in-house artists as a way of keeping their walls and halls fresh. At any one time, multiple exhibits can be seen throughout the large campus’ many rooms. In the main show room, Kanzburg’s exhibit hangs, in black and white, hand sketched creating a stark contrast from the many printed, colored, and photographic works found around the center. These images, of the twelve Ecclasties chapters, carry a heavier load when observed on Forever Young’s walls. Hosting and specializing in senior citizen care, the daytime visitors of Forever Young can resemble, in ways, the elder “Son of David” sketched by Kanzburg. Which observed with the theme of the exhibit can offer a very morbid or sinister depiction of aging, life, and meaning. However, not all is grim. Not nearly.
Inside the walls of Forever Young, senior citizens proudly display their jovial and able lives. From pool tables that are constantly busy to the heavily used library and the weekly shows and performances put on by occupants, the daily-residents of Forever Young do not dwell on the meaninglessness of life or the burden of age. Just as Kanzburg uses his age, wisdom, and talent to the best of his abilities in creating such a masterful, detailed work, so do the everyday visitors of Forever Young. The old man pictured in Kanzburg’s work resembles little of the Forever Young community; here age is just a small fraction, just a meaningless number of what these people really are.