Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Postscript: International Day of Peace Art Show

On September 20th the San Geronimo Valley Community Center hosted a very special event—The International Peace Day Festival.

"Full Moon Stories" by Justine Tot Tatarsky
(Low fire glazes on terra-cotta tiles)

U.N. International Day of Peace is a global event and the Center participated with an outdoor concert, guest speakers and a group art show.

The art exhibit What Does Peace Look Like? that I organized runs through the end of the month of September.

When we initially conceived of the art exhibit component of the festival it sounded simple enough to me---after all everybody seems to want peace. But after I began pursuing the subject (and the artists for the show) I found it more challenging than I would ever have anticipated.

When I first mentioned the theme of the show to one artist –I found that we were suddenly talking about the holocaust.  Artists offered up various atrocities and human mayhem.  Lots of anti-war imagery. Or conversely began conjuring up “peaceful” images such as rainbows, sunsets and unicorns (honest).

I kept thinking there’s got to be a middle ground—something in between piles of corpses and psilocybin-induced visions of unicorns.

I began to realize that although everyone wants peace (“All We Are Saying is Give Peace a Chance”)—it turns out that it’s very difficult to describe, or envision --what exactly ‘peace’ looks like.  Which lead to the title of the show.

I think this is important; I’m not sure you can obtain something that you can’t envision.

I think the use of the term 'peace' may be a problem.  'Peace' for most people seems to merely mean hiatus from war.  If that’s the case then peace can only be achieved by being lucky enough to live where war isn’t happening. Hopefully, there is something one can do to create peaceful outcomes.

I began to realize that words that could be valuable concept guidelines for artists were needed; Words like tolerance, respect, compassion, reconciliation, communication, equality, equity, kindness, goodwill; building peace, creating food and shelter and inner peace.

San Quentin inmates practicing meditation and yoga
(Photos courtesy of Insight/Out and Prison Yoga Project)

These words seem to be, in part, the quality and conditions that lead to peace. And that's the exhibit I wanted to creatively depict.  I think the prompts helped the artists come up with different ideas other than the knee-jerk anti-war images.

My hope is that this exhibit at least encourages a dialogue, if not providing a few answers, to that question.

Ironically, now that the show is up I feel like I’m truly ready to begin curating a show entitled What Does Peace Look Like?

Here's a few shots from the International Day of Peace Festival:

M.C. Wavy Gravy

Our festival was part of a global online broadcast. Scenes from our San Geronimo festival were sandwiched in between other peace events around the planet. 

Roger McNamee, band leader of Moonalice, holding up the new Wes Wilson poster.

 For more on The International Day of Peace see:

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