This week’s Monday Mixx is a selection of artists that I viewed this weekend at the Queen West Art Crawl Outdoor Art Show and Sale, held in Trinity-Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada. “The Queen West Art Crawl (QWAC) promotes meaningful interaction between art and people in the neighbourhoods of West Queen West and Parkdale in Toronto. The annual festival highlights and exhibits the work of professional artists, and presents new ideas via art scholars and curators, artists, and art lovers.” Enjoy!
Around the world, on November 11th, many countries observe Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day and Veteran’s Day) to commemorate the the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war. In 1918, major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
In Japan, November 11th was chosen as Origami Day by the Nippon Origami Association because it matched the idea of peace expressed in Remembrance Day, the end of World War I in 1918.
A thousand origami cranes has become a symbol of peace through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb who died of leukemia after radiation exposure. Sasaki heard the Japanese legend that whomever folded 1000 paper cranes would receive one wish. She began folding her cranes but died before completing her goal. Her friends completed the folding and buried them with her. A memorial to her currently stands in Hiroshima today, and is always surrounded by paper cranes.
Today and all days, may peace be with you.
Sources: Nippon Origami Association, Examiner, Pieces Zine
On November 9, 2009, Berlin will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Numerous events are going on around the city including the restoration of the East Side Gallery – a 1.3km long section of the wall located along the bank of the Spree River. Initially created in 1989/1990, the wall is a memorial for freedom and is thought to be the largest open air gallery in the world, containing about 106 paintings by artists from all over the world.
Over the last 2 decades, time, weather, pollution, and vandals have taken their toll and the wall has been crumbling and the paint peeling and fading. Since early 2009, almost 90 artists have worked to repaint their original creations, restoring it to it’s former glory.
The painted wall “is a document that allows future generations to picture for themselves … what the wall meant,” Mayor Klaus Wowereit said at an inauguration ceremony.
The artists “have conveyed a second time their genuine euphoria from 1990,” said Kani Alavi, who heads the East Side Gallery Artists’ Association and was a driving force behind the restoration. “Twenty years after the fall of the wall, the East Side Gallery stands for democracy and human rights”.
The wall is a popular tourist attraction and the Berlin City Government contributed more than 2 million euros to help fund the restoration.
For more information about the East Side Gallery, visit the East Side Gallery website. You can also find more information on BerlinWallArt.com. (Note, both websites are dated and do not contain information about the current restoration.) For more information about the Berlin Wall, visit Wikipedia. CBC News also has an interesting interactive history of the Berlin Wall.
Sources: CBC, The German Way (images), Life According to Plan (Theirry Noir images)
Today marks the beginning of World Origami Days in the United States, the UK, and other parts of the world. October 24 to November 11 is a two and a half week celebration of the international community of origami.
The goal of World Origami days is to make origami as visible as possible. The organizers encourage you to “teach a class, fold on the bus, give your friends origami, exhibit your model”, or do whatever you can to bring origami to the attention of others.
Why these dates? October 24 is the birthday of Lillian Oppenheimer (1898-1992), who founded the first origami group in America. She was also one of the founders of the British Origami Society and Origami USA. A dynamic woman, she was delighted in the magic to be found in a piece of paper and wanted to share it with the world. The final day, November 11, is Origami Day in Japan and is recognized as the country that most fully developed the traditional art of origami.
For more information about World Origami Days, visit Origami-USA.org.
Why not try making an origami crane yourself. The video below has very detailed instructions for making an origami crane. Enjoy!
September 21st is the International Day of Peace. Observed each year, it is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence.The day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.” The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
To begin the day, the “Peace Bell” is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents. It was given as a gift by the Diet (legislature) of Japan, and is referred to as “a reminder of the human cost of war.” The inscription on its side reads: “Long live absolute world peace.”
This year the Secretary-General is calling on governments and citizens to focus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Everyone can take action by signing a Declaration to support the Secretary-General’s drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and by submitting their own reasons why We Must Disarm.
Symbols and representations of war and peace have been created throughout history in every genre of art. Before the 17th century, war was typically depicted in art as an admirable achievement – leaders on their horses celebrated their victories as heroes fighting off evil enemies. It was not until the mid 17th century that artists began displaying war in a more self-conscious way that was observant of its horrors and sympathetic to its civilian victims.
Well known images of peace include the dove and olive branch, the peace sign ☮ made popular in the 1960’s, the v-sign hand gesture, the rainbow peace flag, the Japanese peace crane, and many others.
Thousands of cities take part in The International Day of Peace. Events vary from private gatherings to public activities involving large groups. From parades, festivals, concerts, candle lighting, tree planting, art exhibitions, peace walks, to small gatherings in private homes, peace-oriented groups and individuals are thinking globally and acting locally to spread awareness about the need for peace.
For more information and to find International Day of Peace events happening in your city, visit the official website.
(Note: at the time of this posting, this website was experiencing difficulties most likely due to heavy traffic. If you have trouble connecting, please try again later).
“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion.”
The Dalai Lama
Sources: IDP Website, Wikipedia, United Nations
June 6th is Drawing Day everyone! Initiated in 2008, Drawing Day is a not for profit, worldwide drawing event that encourages everyone to drop everything and draw for the sake of art. The goal of drawing day is to inject more illustration and art into our communities, show appreciation to fellow artists, and spread awareness of the joy of drawing.
Participating is easy. All you have to do is:
1. Draw something – then scan and upload to one of the participating websites (Deviant Art, YouTube, Facebook, Rate My Drawings are just a few), or
2. Visit one of the participating websites that allows you to draw online.
3. Remember to mention Drawing Day 2009 when you participate.
For more information about Drawing Day 2009 and how to participate visit DrawingDay.org.
June 1st is International Children’s Day and I thought, what better day to honour art made by children and promote the value of early arts education.
Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, Children’s Day was established to encourage all countries to promote exchange and understanding among children and to initiate action to benefit the welfare of children around the world.
The importance of arts education in early life is widely acknowledged and scientific studies have shown that early arts training enhances:
1. cognitive and physical development,
2. self-discipline, social skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills,
3. understanding and respecting of different ways of working and thinking,
4. communication of ideas in a variety of ways.
5. understanding and acceptance of cultures, their past and present.
The artwork featured below was created by children and is displayed on Artsonia, an online gallery of children’s art showcasing millions of pieces of kids’ creations. Be sure to check out the website yourself – you’ll be amazed by the levels of creativity.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Design Festa – Volume 29, a bi-annual art exhibition featuring artists from all over the world. The event was huge, with over 2600 booths and over 8,500 artists from 70 countries. Design Festa, which has been running since 1994, is a two-day chaotic event housing every kind of art imaginable. Painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers, jewelry, fashion, accessories, dolls, live music and theatre performances – you name it, it’s there.
I arrived around noon at Tokyo Big Sight for my first experience with Design Festa and I wish I had gone earlier. The space was massive and with thousands of exhibits and performances to experience, you really need the whole day – possibly two. The exhibits ranged from totally kawaii (cute), to dark and gothic, to jaw-dropping beautiful, to just plain weird.
After around 2 pm, the event was packed and it became difficult to move with any speed through the aisles. Overall, it was a really interesting and cool experience with some phenomenal artists. I plan to return and participate in the October vol. 30. event. For more information, visit Design Festa online.