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Art NXT Level

A Message for World Leaders...from the World's Artists

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 glimpse into what that exhibition might look like…..

"State of the World" by Nancy Calef. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"State of the World" by Nancy Calef. Photo courtesy of the artist.

State of the World was created following an artist residency for the “State of The World Forum” annual symposiums drawing world leaders to San Francisco and New York, co-chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev and Queen Noor, who were meeting to discuss and propose solutions for the environment, nuclear disarmament and peace. This revealed to me the transformational power of bringing together people from different cultures, religions, and professions to address global issues with tolerance and compassion.
Nancy Calef, California, USA

"Yellow Flower Rapeseed" by Daniil Belov. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Yellow Flower Rapeseed" by Daniil Belov. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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" by Pat Musick. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Our Fragile Home" by Pat Musick. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Industry" by Daniel A. du Preez. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Industry" by Daniel A. du Preez. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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 Why Project" by Andy Frost. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"The Why Project" by Andy Frost. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Why Not" by KL Santosh. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Why Not" by KL Santosh. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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" by Lauren Curtis. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Micro/Macrocosm Tree" by Lauren Curtis. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Different but Same" by Belina Wright. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Different but Same" by Belina Wright. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Reflections" by Jessica Phillips. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Reflections" by Jessica Phillips. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Shapeshifter" by Eva Lewarne. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Shapeshifter" by Eva Lewarne. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

"Selva Sfumato" by Adriana Garces. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Selva Sfumato" by Adriana J.Garces. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Selva Sfumato is inspired by the sheer lushness of a tropical forest. Hot and humid, every living thing develops to its fullest potential. The stylized wooden fence symbolizes humanity’s attempt to “corral” nature for our own purposes, whether they be for good reasons or otherwise. Nature is the binding factor among all living earthly creatures. We sprout from the earth and waters and therefore should take care of the host which literally and spiritually feeds us. My wish is that corporate and political agendas would stop the destruction currently being undertaken in the name of profit.
Adriana J. Garces, New Jersey, USA

"On the Wings of Love" by Debra Keirce. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"On the Wings of Love" by Debra Keirce. Photo courtesy of the artist.

On the Wings of Love was created out of a personal experience of watching loved ones die of alcohol addiction. Until the disease of addiction is de-stigmatized, our world will continue to live in a state of denial that it crosses all socio-economic barriers, and kills people with otherwise incredible potential. Our over-burdened legal systems will continue to deal with addicts as criminals, instead of people who need intervention and affordable, long-term rehabilitation. I would pray that my art would help leaders consider an approach to the legal, economic, cultural, health care, and education issues created by the disease of addiction and to create legislation from a place of compassion.
Debra Keirce, Virginia, USA

"Jesses-Journey" by BZTAT. Photo courtesy of the artist.

"Jesse's-Journey" by BZTAT. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

 

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6 comments to A Message for World Leaders…from the World’s Artists

  • Denise Giroux

    Thank you for your inspiration, and the insight each of these artists offer us on this critical question for our times. You bring together great artists, and great ideas.

    Do hope to see you in the spring, à Montréal!

    Denise

  • Thank you Serena! I like/love your idea WAY more than the idea that I had where we removed everything art for a month? This is awesome, and thank you.
    Diane

  • Dagen Julty

    A wonderful concept. I would love to see what children did with this. I’ll bet an art teacher somewhere would be happy to take this on. (Are there still art classes in schools? If not, there’s a theme for a whole new show!)

    • I think there a lots of art teachers (many of whom are losing their jobs) who are ready to re-purpose their teaching skills outside of the classroom to promote the arts. Yes, a theme for a whole new Artful Vagabond show! I need more hours in the day…..
      - SerenaK

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