Cities of Peace honors the history and culture of various cities that have experienced major conflict and trauma, including Baghdad, Beijing, Hiroshima, Jerusalem, Kabul, Lhasa, Monrovia, New York, Sarajevo, and Yerevan. Frank’s visit to Jerusalem in 1999 inspired her to produce the first painting in the series and to visualize the creation of other works representing additional cities that have survived strife. The series directs action through hopeful energy by celebrating the best of the human spirit, transforming anguish into beauty.
The works displayed evoke artistic traditions as diverse as illuminated manuscripts, icons, tapestries, embroidery, architectural mosaics, woodcarvings, and metalwork. Mica, bronze powders, and many types of gold leaf create multilayered imagery that shimmers and resolves itself into successive scenes of time, place, and humankind. Crimson leaf, the color of our blood, is tucked into each painting to honor the dead. Text, in the tradition of micrography (words shaped into images), appears in some of the works. The arts of each country portrayed are incorporated into the paintings. While serving as memorials to particular eras and locations, the paintings also become border crossings that enable visions of greater compassion and heightened consciousness among peoples.
Cities of Peace was produced at the Illumination Atelier in East Hampton, New York, by artist-interns from more than 20 countries under the artistic direction of Ellen Frank. Works devoted to Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut, Berlin, Bujumbura, Mogadishu, Phnom Penh and other cities will continue the project. This exhibition marks the debut of work by the Illumination Atelier.
With Yerevan: to Know Wisdom, Cities of Peace has launched its global initiative, creating the painting in the city and with the citizens that the painting honors. Produced at the Russian -Armenian University with 10 Armenian Partners and International sponsors Golden Artist Colors (US), Manetti gold leaf (Italy), and linen LIBECO (Belgium), Yerevan: To Know Wisdom was unveiled at the National Gallery of Armenia, December 18, 2015. It will stay on view through April 2016.
Cities of Peace is available for exhibition, nationally and internationally, to be accompanied by symposia, workshops, lectures and demonstrations. Topics may range from "Techniques of Illumination", "Art as an Instrument for Global Peace and Understanding", "A Woman's Vision: The Making of a Foundation", and more. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.