A Wartime Tale Of Two Sisters At The Manx Museum

By Simon Barrett | 21 January 2004
Shows a black and white photograph of two women standing behind a haystack in a field. Both are smoking.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage.

Two Sisters is a new photographic exhibition on at the Manx Museum in the Isle of Man until March 27.

Ever looked at old family photographs and wondered what stories lie behind the faces?

Julia Winckler’s photographic exhibition sets out to do just that, focussing on the contrasting wartime memories and experiences of two sisters, the artist’s grandmother Viktoria and her great aunt, Martha.

Whilst Viktoria lived and worked in Berlin throughout the Second World War, her sister Martha was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man.

Shows a photo montage at the centre of which is a black and white portrait of a woman wearing a headscarf. The photo is over-written with blue text and is stamped in several places.

Photo: Courtesy of Manx National Heritage.

Two Sisters is a fascinating collection of photographs documenting the creation of the exhibition, which has taken the artist to Berlin, London and the Isle of Man, in order to piece together the lives of the sisters from surviving photographs and her grandmother’s memories.

"The Two Sisters exhibition is a fascinating example of something that we all do… we remember stories about our families that we were told when we were young," said Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage.

"Then we try to imagine what life was really like for the people in those photographs, lives that were as rich and varied as our own."

"Julia Winckler has taken that fascination with our personal history and the lives of our families and has succeeded in recreating and rediscovering the lives of two sisters from her own family and bringing them out of the faint shadows of the past into the 21st century."

The exhibition is a lovingly crafted artist’s tribute to the lives of her relatives, as well as an intriguing history lesson on the subject of internment on the Isle of Man during the Second World War.

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