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Images provide food for thought

by Archives January 30, 2002

Images of violence and war have been filtered to us over the past few months. Currently, a new set of aesthetic visual expressions are being set forth by Concordia students to overpower those of terror and destruction.
Art4peace is an exhibition currently running at the Black Studies Center, which aims to serve as a platform for artists to express their ideas on the current world situation, particularly in response to the events of Sept. 11.
The exhibition incorporates various aspects of artistic mediums, such as paintings, photography, video and collage work.
According to Art4peace co-ordinator Miri Segalowitz, these artists ” want to express what cannot be expressed with words about the subject.”
As you walk through the small but effective exhibition, you are persuaded to think about the pieces and their relation to the main statement. One work in particular titled Perspective by Pamela Cantor is a painting focused directly around the study of perspective in art.
Cantor invites the viewer to delve into their psyche and examine their notions of perspective in a time of insecurity. Similarly her piece, through the use of one point perspective visually draws you into this world of reflection.
Art4peace does not remain solely within the constructs of its exhibition space, as it invites the visitor to take a piece of the exhibition home with them as a symbol of support.
Students of Lower Canada College between the ages of 7-11 made colourful peace beads, out of a type of clay that can be baked, as a part of art therapy exercise in relation to the events.
Visitors are encouraged to select a bead and create a bracelet or pin out of it to wear acknowledging their participation.
An awareness of how innocent victims fall prey to the hand of violent acts is represented in the work of Justyna Dawidowicz titled Faces.
By no means do these artists wish to impose specific views on the spectator, these can rather be seen as a sharing of their personal feelings of violence and war.
“We want to give a sense of hope to those that don’t succumb to the social pressure of having to agree with black or white,” said Segalowitz.
In order to ensure that the works selected for the exhibition neither neither denigrated nor glorified a particular culture, people or faith, there was a screening process for the applicants.
Selected works were obliged to meet two criteria – “artistic merit was not one of them,” according to the organizers – relevance and appropriateness.
The selection committee was composed of two university professors in the faculty of fine arts and one psychology professor at McGill, who conducts research on the development of racial prejudice in children.
Art4peace holds an important message that questions the function of art and its belief that it can evoke social change. After all, images are a powerful message universally comprehensible.
Art4peace is being presented until Feb. 3 at the Black Studies Centre, 1968 de Maisonneuve. Admission is free. The exhibition is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. On the web, http://art4peace.concordia.ca

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