By the time Marianne Lieberman ’75 came to UNC Charlotte to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, she had already faced enough challenges, had enough adventures and endured enough traumas for three lifetimes. And not just because she was a student in her 40s among a cohort of 20-somethings.
Lieberman, who graduated in 1975, started life in 1927 in Vienna, Austria, as the daughter of a Jewish doctor, enjoying the opportunities of the educated upper middle class. But in 1938, that world was destroyed.
“When I was 11 years old, Hitler took over Austria, which automatically changed my whole life,” she would later recount in an oral history interview with J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. “You could say I lost my identity overnight.”
Lieberman’s mother was Catholic, so she was categorized as a “mischling” — mixed Jewish and gentile. Her father left Austria, and for the next nine years, Lieberman and her mother both suffered and miraculously survived the persecution, violence, and deprivation of the Holocaust and World War II and their aftermath. In the midst of the fear and grief, Lieberman found solace in her art.
“My love was drawing — it had always been drawing — and that’s how I retained my equilibrium,” she said in her interview.
Lieberman died in 2021, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy as an artist and an activist. Following her death, her children, Miriam and Larry Lieberman, donated 30 of their mother’s artworks to the Mint Museum of Art, recognizing the long association she had had with the museum. Last January, the Mint mounted an exhibition of the work, “Feeding the Stone,” which closes Oct. 1.
Read more on the College of Arts + Architecture website.