Memory Images

Society of Commemorative Culture in the Art of Women


Artist, Author


*1948 in Zimbabwe 

DESSA is the pseudonym for artist and author Deborah Sharon Abeles, who was born in 1948 in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe). After high school, she lived in Israel from 1965 to 1976 where she studied Occupational Therapy. The following four years she spent in Paris, and in 1981, moved to Switzerland with her two children. Of a multi-cultural background, she became a Swiss citizen in 1983 and lives in Pully with her husband Hervé Petroz.

She grew up in a society determined by racial divisions. This experience reflects her continual personal search to bring together and crossing cultural boundaries. As a interdisciplinary artist, her interest in music, social studies, medicine and the natural world are subjects through which she explores her identity and relation to past, present and future. Her media is paint, collage and murals. 

DESSA is well known not only for her projects combining music and visual art, including the creation of «Transoundart  but also for her research concerning artistic expression for collective memory. She produced  A Legacy from Theresienstadt  in 1997, A Tribute to Kaufhaus N. Israel 1815 - 1939 in 2003 and Stolzesteine : Stones-of-Pride in 2015.


Since 1986, over fourty exhibitions and presentations of her work have been held in museums, galleries and concert halls in Europe. 


DESSA: The Art of Remembrance: Alice Salomon, Berlin 2018.

DESSA und Holt Meyer: Stolzesteine – Stones-of-Pride: Hommage an das Kaufhaus N. Israel, Berlin, 2014.

DESSA: COMPOSITION, Musik und Malerei, o. O., 2010.


New review of Aviva zu "Stolzesteine":, 2017

Museumsjournal, Berichte aus den Museen, Schlössern und Sammlungen in Berlin, Potsdam. 1/2016 Januar - März: MITTE MUSEUM - DESSA: Kaufhaus Nathan Israel 1815 - 1939, Eine Künstlerin erforscht Geschichte, 31. März 2016, Claudia Berger. Article page 1 page 2, 2016

Deutschlandradio Kultur, Stolpersteine in der Kritik, 11.02.2016, Interview, 2016

Jüdische Allgemeine, Portrait der Woche: Ich folge meinem Weg (Deutsch),  I follow my own path (English), 12.11.2015, 2015

Berliner Morgenpost, 30.09.2015, Mitte Museum erinnert an das Kaufhaus N. Israel, 2015

h, 2015, 2015

L´ECHO DU GROS-DE-VAUD -  When Music « Colours » Inspiration, 2015

peeches/Conference Présentation Monnard, 2015

Speech Frank Harders-Wuthenow in: English Deutsch Francais, 2015

KUNSTMAGAZIN.DE - DESSA Do we smile or do we weep?, 2013

KULTUR AUS DER SCHWEIZ Hommage to Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976) in Galerie Petra Lange, 2013

BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY - Von Britten inspiriert, 2013

KUNSTMAGAZIN.DE - DESSA Composition - Malerei und Collagen, 2011


P. H. - Dessa à la JayKay Gallery: dix ans de galerie, dix ans de peinture, ph+arts, 2010

Iris Frey -  Flüssiger Sonnenschein, Cannstatter Zeitung, 2008

Françoise Jaunin - Quand l’art fait croisade pour l’hygiène, 24 Heures, 2006

Accrochages Agenda d’Art No. 81 - De l’Hygiène à l’Art, 2006