Seeing Peace Overview
SEEING PEACE: Artists Collaborate with the United Nations
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, once said,
...Art was civilization’s first global movement...
SEEING PEACE intends to realize this movement.
The story: Some years ago, Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, reported that when he had policy decisions to make he would invite the Czech community of creative artists, writers and poets to come to the table and participate in the decisions that effected their lives. He invited artists “to come to the table,” as artists, and engage, along with the politicians and the lawyers and the bankers and the military people, in the great global dialogue of their time. Havel himself is an artist, so it was not a stretch for him.
A new metaphor - that of bringing the artist to the table, making the imagination present.
The questions: Artists talk about their work being transformative. Is it? Is it prescient? Can it imagine futures? Imagine, if you will, that Picasso had painted Guernica BEFORE the bombs fell on Guernica? Might it have been different? Does art, does the creative imagination, have the force to effect change? Can it anticipate? Can it suggest new directions? Will perceptions shift and alter? Is/can art be pro-active?
SEEING PEACE attempts to answer these questions.
Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation. It favors no race. It acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to heal, reveal and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible. It creates a dialogue between individuals, and communication between communities. It allows us to see and to listen to each other.
On International Peace Day in September in New York, at UN Plaza, when the Peace Bell is struck and it resonates throughout the United Nations Plaza, it marks the opening of the fall session of the General Assembly. Then, pair by pair, one artist from each one of the 191 member nations, and their respective ambassador will enter the General Assembly, take their seat at the table, proclaiming the presence of the imagination as a crucial element in international dialogue.
SEEING PEACE, the tableaux/dialogue: will invite one artist from each one of the 191 member nation of the United Nations to sit at the table with their Ambassador in the General Assembly and participate in the dialogue...as artists. The imagination will be at the table.
SEEING PEACE, the exhibition: invited one artist from each one of the 191 member nations to create a piece of art from their unique cultural perspective that reflects their vision of SEEING PEACE.
SEEING PEACE, the chant: opened in the United Nations plaza, where thousands of voices rose and soared, intermingling languages, culture and dress in a collaborative chant for peace.
Art opens new doors for learning, understanding and peace among peoples and nations. SEEING PEACE, by being at the table, opens a new door.
Fiscal Sponsor: SomArts, South of Market Cultural Center