Excerpts from the Opening Speech of the Ambassador of Israel to Finland and Estonia H.E. Shemi Tsur at the ceremony of the opening of Michael Rogatchi’s Dream, Memory, Love exhibition – The Art Gallery of the Estonian National Library, Tallinn, Estonia, August 2004. 

Samson. The Last Smile. Oil on canvas. 110 x 100 cm. 2002.

I would like to congratulate the organisers of this exhibition, the National Library of Estonia, for hosting this unique art at their distinguished gallery. This exhibition is a part of a long journey, in several senses of the word. In its direct meaning, it travels the world during a few years, from Finland to Israel, Central Europe, London, Italy, all the Baltic states. 

Michael is a very special artist, with the background of a scientist which is a rare case which produced a remarkable results. 

Michael is a person whom you will like from the moment you meet him. When I have arrived a year ago to my post in Helsinki to be an Israeli Ambassador to Finland and Estonia, the name of Rogatchis, Inna and Michael, was known to me from the line of the former Israeli Ambassadors to Finland and Estonia. It was just natural to invite Michael and Inna to our residence. In our first meeting, we discussed almost everything from politics to poetry, arts, journalism, families and friends, difficulties and successes. During that conversation, I found the artist full with joy and love.

Getting know Michael and his work closer, I started to admire his art. The wideness of his way of artistic expression fascinated me. I admire Michael’s love for Israel which is transpiring from his work, his devotion to Jewish heritage and tradition. One is lucky – and I am amazed of it – to find in the works of this one artist practically everything: sharp observations, exuberant joy of life, his love for the family, his pain, sadness and at the same time hope, optimism, and humour. 

From Michael’s paintings, you can also feel an admiration for culture, heritage, and great respect for wisdom and spirituality. 

The other thing which fascinates me in Michael’s art is that it is very hard to define which kind of style he is working in. This artist does not bound by any restrictions, but motivated by his Dreams, Memories and Love. 

We all have different dreams, different memories of our families, events in our lives, our celebrations and our tragedies. Michael has his incredible ability, his talent to combine all of it for us in a brilliant way. The way that makes us to think of our dreams and memories and to believe in a better future full of light, hope, joy and love. 

In his works, Michael covers different topics. For me, the most impressive ones are his works on Jerusalem, on the Bible, and his reflections on the Holocaust. Michael’s artistic interpretation of the Bible is original, mighty, interesting, modern and powerful – have a look on his work dedicated to Samson. It is an incredible artistic achievement.

Next Year in Jerusalem. Oil on canvas. 70 x 66 cm. 1996.

Michael also was able to present the theme of Holocaust in an unique way. On one side, the shocking realities of the Shoah are portrayed in his works to the extent that you can feel the pain and the suffering. On the other side, you notice the optimism for the future. For many of us, it is like with Michael: the memory and the knowledge about the Holocaust lives with us, inside us, so that it is the integral part of us. There is no comparison in the history of mankind to the evil ideology of the Nazism and its  Final Solution. Six million Jewish, among them one and a hlaf million children were brutally murdered in that unspeakable crime. And still, more than 60 years later, after the horrors of the Holocaust took places, the issue of anti-Semitism is still with us today, even in the European countries. 

Michael, than you very much for sharing with us your Dream, your memory and your Love, and I would like to send my presentation with a quotation from the letter of Simon Wiesenthal sent last year to Michael: “I am glad that there are people like you, Michael, who will continue to remind people”.