A group of artists in New York are all participants in the Harmony for Peace Foundation’s inaugural Peace Art Competition. Harmony for Peace uses art and music to promote world peace and nuclear disarmament.
Winners of the competition (photography and visual art) will be announced on Friday, June 3rd at the opening reception at the Chelsea Art Museum, where an exhibit of the top entries will run through Sunday, June 5.
Undeterred by the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan that threatened to scuttle its inaugural International Peace Art Competition, the Harmony for Peace Foundation will announce the winners of the contest at an awards ceremony on Friday, June 3 at the Chelsea Art Museum in Manhattan. Living in an uncertain and combative world, the artists were chosen for their works that visualize and appeal for world peace. The 6 pm event, which will announce the winners of the competition, kicks off the Harmony for Peace Foundation’s Peace Art Competition Exhibit, which consists of 50-pieces selected from 150 entries from around the world. The opening reception and ceremony will close with a musical program by Jamaican classical pianist Paul Shaw, who has been hailed by The New York Times as “both a virtuoso with herculean technical command and a sensitive introspective artist.” The exhibit runs through June 5.
When tragedy struck in Japan, people were displaced and communications went down as preparations for the exhibition were in high gear. The uncertainty of the situation and inability to reach people brought the process to a halt, threatening to throw the event into turmoil. Harmony for Peace, which utilizes the arts to advocate for world peace and nuclear non-proliferation, has strong ties to and an office in Japan since its founder harpsichordist Yasuko Mitsui, whose family was affected by the Hiroshima bombings, lives there. To compensate, the exhibition was pushed back a month while communication was reestablished with Japanese contestants. Though the disaster impacted upon the number of artists who could travel to New York for the awards ceremony on June 3, luckily approximately ten of the 30 Japan artists will be able to attend.
Harmony for Peace has raised funds through its artistic events for the Hiroshima International Council for Health Care of the Radiation-Exposed (HICARE), which has been using knowledge gleaned from the Hiroshima tragedy to care for radiation-exposed populations in various parts of the world. Recently HICARE has sent healthcare professionals to the Fukushima nuclear plant area to assist those there who have been exposed to radiation.
Artists from nine countries participated in the International Peace Art Competition. The pieces chosen for the exhibition were selected for their depiction of world peace, global awareness or peace making and the connection their artist statement had to these themes. Judges include renowned visual artist Senju Hiroshi;
Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Julien Robson; environmental
conservationist and conceptual art photographer Dr. Joe Zammit-Lucia; and Harmony for Peace Board Members Mark Di Paolo and Dr. Alexander Motyl. The winner, to be announced on Friday, June 3, will take a $1,000 prize, the second-place winner $500 and the third place winner $300. Two honorable mention selections will be made.
“We wanted to create a visual dialogue about peace, a place where diverse artists, whether emerging or experienced, could freely express their hope for peace and define what it means to them,” said Tomoko Torii, Harmony for Peace executive director, who spearheaded the competition. “The common bond the participating artists seem to share is an understanding that their role is to capture and convey a feeling of love and happiness and, thus, inspire people to manifest this peace in the world.”
The exhibit, which runs on Saturday, June 4 from 12–5 pm and Sunday, June 5 from 12–4 pm, is free; however two special events, benefits for the Harmony for Peace Japan Relief Fund, are planned. From 2–4 pm on Saturday, June 4 there will be an Afternoon Tea Reception and classical music mini concert with Daniel Maimone (tenor), Asako Tamura (soprano), and Drago Bubalo (piano); works from Puccini and Schubert, as well as select Japanese classics will be performed. Sunday‘s Afternoon Tea Reception runs from 1–3 pm and includes a classical music performance by Gideon Broshy (piano), and a jazz set by Wataru Niimori (piano) and Akiko Sasaki (koto, a Japanese traditional stringed instrument). For entrée to one of the special events, make a donation of $25 or more to the Harmony for Peace Japan Relief Fund at https://harmonyforpeace.wufoo.com/forms/tohoku-pacific-earthquake-tsunami-relief-fund/.
Art enthusiasts around the world can view and purchase the pieces featured in the exhibit, which range from $150 to $8,000), by logging onto www.harmonyforpeace.org. A price list of the artwork is available on the website to download and also is available by calling 484-885-8539 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of the proceeds will go to Harmony for Peace’s Japan Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping those affected by the devastating March earthquake and tsunami get the medical attention they need.
The Chelsea Art Museum is located at 556 W. 22nd Street in Manhattan. To get to the museum, take the C or E subway to W. 23rd Street.