If you had the opportunity to say ONE THING to a room filled with each of the world’s leaders, what would your message be?
And if you were an artist, and you could present ONE WORK OF ART in an exhibition for these world leaders that might inspire them to talk to each other and change the world for the better, what piece would you choose?
There are 195 countries in the world today. Imagine an exhibition hall filled with 195 presidents, chancellors, kings and prime ministers representing all the world’s political parties, religions and cultures.
Now imagine what kind of art would be in that exhibition.
As part of Artful Vagabond’s Ask the Artists series, Serena Kovalosky sent out a challenge, inviting artists to submit works of art that might spark dialogue and insights among the most powerful people in the world. Here is a selection of their visual responses….
When our planet is covered by buildings and skyscrapers – “boxes with windows” – and the most of our greenery is under asphalt – it will be my hour! Then almost any of my landscapes, like Yellow Flower Rapeseed, will be able to change the world for the better!
Daniil Belov, Moscow, Russia
Our Fragile Home is a body of work that references the fragility of our planet and the need to sustain it. It was inspired by the word that space-travelers use most often to describe their first impression as they look back on the earth from space: Fragile.
Pat Musick, Vermont, USA
I would exhibit Industry, which portrays industry as a beautiful, colorful promise, but the promises and beauty have many layers to them and the end result is just a another hole in the sky.
Daniel A. du Preez, South Africa
The installation, Why Not, reflects the upcoming development of infrastructure in cities. The colorful block indicates infrastructure development growing higher towards the sky. But on the other side, the green block (Nature) and the white block (Peace) appear cracked in the mirrors behind them. This installation conveys the message that we definitely need infrastructure development, but it should also contain beauty and vision and it should not affect nature and peace.
KL Santosh, Mumbai, India
Micro/Macrocosm Tree is an “X-RAYted” digital photo collage that shows how we are all the same inside and that we are all connected to nature and the universe despite any physical or religious differences. The pieces in this series also exemplify a respect for nature and how humans are part of nature, not separate from it with the right to abuse and dominate over it.
Lauren Curtis, New Jersey, USA
The Why Project would hopefully inspire leaders to talk about the struggles that women have around the world. This project is a group of abstract portraits of women with a stripe of paint across the mouth. I named the series “The Why Project” because at first I didn’t know why I was blocking out the mouths until it occurred to me that the paintings were a representation of the suppression of a voice. In this case, the voices of women, silenced by an authority. Although I had difficulty understanding these pieces, my own works, for me they have become my reaction to the many suppressed and unheard voices of victims across the world.
Andy Frost, New Hampshire, USA
Reflections depicts a female soldier in combat gear holding a M4 rifle and wearing military glasses. Reflected in her glasses are what appears to be figures in a room – it is unclear to the viewer exactly what is happening. One is aware that this woman is witnessing something seemingly disturbing but the female soldier’s face is completely blank – there is not a trace of expression or emotion to hint at what she is witnessing. The use of a traditional ceramic platter form, often regulated to home use by women, questions our society’s preconceived ideas about gender roles. The contemporary depiction of a woman in a combat situation raises awareness about the issues women in the military face both while serving and at home.
Jessica Putnam-Phillips, Vermont, USA
Different but Same depicts women from different backgrounds in their cultural dress embracing each other in a celebration of diversity and unity. It reminds us that we have more in common than we have differences and we all have a desire to live a life filled with happiness, security, and love. When we put aside our differences and work together we can accomplish much for the good of the world.
Belina Wright, Florida, USA
Jesse’s Journey is a large collage/assemblage piece that consists of drawings created by child survivors of trauma, combined into a free-standing mixed media mural. The mural contains timbers reclaimed from an actual fire scene where lives of children were lost; making the trauma narratives very real. The mural is a tangible testament to the painful struggle faced by children affected by various forms of trauma. Jesse’s Journey also reflects the resilience of the human spirit, and the return to hope that is possible when recovery occurs.
BZTAT, Ohio, USA
Shape-Shifters are people with compassion and empathy for all living things, to the point of creating magic in their daily lives. Our ancient earth religions understood our inner-connectedness and coexisted congenially with nature and animals. But the Industrial Age told people that all we need are machines – and money became the new Deity pervading all of our existence. We lost our sense of magic and purpose of life…
I am hoping my work induces viewers to start exploring “mystery” in their lives. This can have a profound effect on helping people to become more compassionate. This in turn will affect communities and society in positive ways as people become less selfish and more generous in their views.
Eva Lewarne, Ontario, Canada