Women Call for Peace

Women are rarely the perpetrators of violence yet they suffer its devastating impact and share responsibility for ending violent human conflict. The thirteen distinguished artists featured in Women Call for Peace have come together to denounce violent aggression and advocate global peace through nonviolent conflict resolution.

They share a commitment to the unique power of art and firsthand experiences to sensitize and inform audiences about these social and political issues. In this new millennium—an age that has held the promise of global interconnectedness—the penchant for conflict and need for resolution never has been more evident. Since 9/11, international terrorism has become a calculable fact of life worldwide.

The works in this exhibition are formidable in their disavowals of violence of all kinds—personal, political, domestic, and international. Their messages are all the more compelling because they reflect a range of religious beliefs, racial identities, and personal encounters with violence.

Lebanon-born, Helen Zughaib brings a global perspective to Prayers for Peace derived from her experiences of living in the Middle East, Europe, and now the United States. Prompted by escalating conflicts between Moslems and Christians after 9/11, she portrays four people praying for peace in an Islamic mosque-inspired setting. With their backs to viewers, they become timeless guardian figures.

Through her portrayals of women, MacArthur Foundation “genius” award-winner Aminah Robinson explores the paradox of individuals who share a common religious text but are intolerant of one another’s beliefs and are divided by global religious conflicts. Flo Oy Wong’s 1933 Gee Theo Quee from the series “made in usa: Angel Island Shhh” imaginatively recounts the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) that barred immigrants from this country for sixty years and tells of their efforts to circumvent repatriation by adopting false identities as American citizens.

The diversity of art and issues represented in this exhibition will appeal to a variety of audiences. The exhibition offers a wide range of programming that can be drawn from local, national, and international sources and issues. A video booth accompanying the exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to video record their responses to the exhibition and to the issues of violence and peace.

Visitor comments will air on a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/WomenCallforPeace. Women Call for Peace is curated by Lisa Farrington, Ph.D., Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Art and Music at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Her honors include the William & Camille Cosby Endowed Scholar at Atlantic University/Spelman College (2008-2007) and, most recently, a Creative Capital Art Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation (2010).

She has published several books and articles, including the 2005 textbook for Oxford University Press entitled Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists. This book has received two major academic literary awards: the American Library Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing and the American Association of Black Women Historians Annual Book Award.