John was forcibly recruited into one of the biggest neo-Nazi organisations in America, at the age of 16. What they did not know was that John was Jewish. Once they found out about his secret, John had to die. In the upper right corner you'll see his body floating after being relentlessly beaten, drowned and left for dead in the Atlantic Ocean. That brutal attempt to take away his life led to a slow bleed in his brain. And years later, they discovered that John had developed a brain tumor. The surgeries that followed removed in John the ability to play any music. But after finding a revised Nazi Saxophone, John decided to do the impossible. He learned to play. The circle around John his head stands for 'God's protection, because John his story is a clear example on how hardship can be turned into a blessing.' In the middle part you see the endless hallway of the concentration camp in Terezin. More than 150,000 Jews were sent to that camp. In remembrance of those who are lost MR SEPPE painted the streaks around John and next to the kids, for they are going to heaven, they are going back home. The song that John learned to play came from the Jewish composer George Geschwin, where the lyrics go: "Come to papa, come to papa do My sweet embraceable you” The last element of the painting is a part of the statues of Yad Vashem. In the middle you see Janusz Korczak, who ran an orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto, and although he didn't have to go, he went to Treblinka with the 200 children in his care when they came to arrest them. The physical statue that is part of the the Yad Vashem Art Collection has one arm, because he could not completely protect them. Underneath the kids you'll see "unfinished" pensil drawings, that stands for us never being finished for fighting against any kind of hatred in the world
From sketch to exhibition.
An idea was born
"When John Daly flew from Israel to Belgium the past few years to go speak in front of schools and other crowds, I have followed the development of his story closely. I saw how John - regardless of having a brain tumor - dragged himself every single day, all summer long, to a small shop where the saxophone artisan Karel Goetghebeur gave him the opportunity to learn the saxophone.
Karel Goetghebeur is the owner and driving force of the internationally known Belgian saxophone brand "Adolphe Sax & Cie". In 2014 Karel came up with the idea to recycle artillery shells from the world wars and turn them into saxophones. That project would eventually become known as the 'Sax4 Pax' project.
Read more about the Sax4Pax project in the following link :
The song that John was teaching himself for this project was the song of Jewish composer George Gerschwin - Embraceable You.
During that time I wanted to show my support and painted for him a first painting of George Gerschwin.
That all came together when he played the saxophone on the rooftop of the Dossin Kazerne in Mechelen. But he was not alone.
In the following link you can find the full story about the Nazi Saxophone Project.
The Nazi Sax Project
MR SEPPE inspired by the John Daly story
'I knew this story was life changing stuff, but I still felt there was too little momentum going on to get it really out there. So I started thinking and quickly came up with the idea of making a 2.46 meter long painting to portray John playing the saxophone over ALL that has happened not only in his life, but in the lives of many who we lost during the Second World War.
From sketch to painting
When I got the idea of the painting I sent John the very small paper sketch as seen above.
Other than that, John only got to see the painting after it was finished.
Despite John not being able to see the painting until after the process, he still was present every step of the way.
Every other hour I would text him explaining how I felt, and how the painting was getting into shape.
Watch the video above to listen to John tell the full story.
The Locker Vintage
Every month the vintage store / art gallery The Locker Vintage in Bruges, - the hometown of MR SEPPE - hosts a new Exhibition to provide a platform for young artists.
Brent Dewulf, founder of The Locker Vintage loved the idea of the project and we quickly set up an exhibition for all to see.
Many young people had the opportunity to talk with John personally as they confessed that John's story had really moved them.