The theme of January’s Patio Gallery art show is Peace, and there are two artists and an organization that will collaborate in this endeavor January 11-February 24: Laurie Wohl, Terry Taylor and Peace Postcards.
Because all three shows are focused on the same theme, they are displayed in conjunction in the Patio Gallery and outside the gallery in the lobby.
“It’s three different forms of art that promote peace,” said Slava Nelson, cultural arts director. “With our 125 anniversary this year, it perfectly symbolizes our mission. From the very beginning, the Jewish Community of Louisville has always promoted peace.”
“Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory” by Laurie Wohl, interweaves Muslim, Jewish and Christian poetry and spiritual texts for the period of the Convivencia in Spain (the eighth through the 15th centuries) and from contemporary Middle Eastern poets, particularly Palestinian and Israeli.
Wohl will give a presentation and gallery talk on Sunday, January 11, from 12:15- 1:30 p.m., which is sponsored in part by Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists (LAFTA). The presentation will be followed by an opening reception 2-4 p.m.
Wohl uses what she calls Unweavings to make her fiber art pieces, using unwoven canvas, textured papers and other materials as a foundation to integrate visual and tactile elements with texts, using Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, with some Greek and English calligraphy, too.
There is an audio component to the project and consists of readings in English, Arabic and Hebrew of the portions of the poems and spiritual texts contained in the Unweavings, Wohl said.
“My hope for the project is that its visual and auditory impact will make vivid for viewers the connections among the Abrahamic religions and stimulate reflection on their shared emotional, aesthetic and thematic content,” Wohl said.
Bette Levy, Patio Gallery director, brought Wohl to the gallery because of her religious vision. “I first became aware of Laurie (Wohl) when I was a vice president of the Surface Design Association and she applied for a grant which was subsequently given to her,” Levy said. “I thought, at that time, that her work was particularly intriguing because it focused on the three major religious groups, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and looked for commonalities in the music, religious writings, and art of the three.”
When she later sent Levy a letter at JCC,” I was delighted to offer the opportunity to bring her work to Louisville.”
LAFTA is supporting, in part, her presentation and gallery talk, the Sunday prior to the reception.
She received two grants in 2011 to support the project. A grant from the Center for the Arts, Religion and Education in Berkely, Calif., underwrites a solo exhibit there in its Doug Adams Gallery and also goes toward the creation of the sound compositions. A personal development grant from the Surface Design Association enabled Wohl to travel to three Spanish cities to view first-hand the interweaving of the cultures at particular architectural sites – the El Transito Synagogue in Toledo, the synagogue and Mezquita in Cordobam and the Alhambra in Granada.
Terry Taylor, executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, will present his show, “A Pilgrim Lens,” alongside Wohl.
The photos displayed were taken during Terry’s “sometimes sacred, sometimes secular spiritual journeys around the US and around the world.”
Taylor worked as a journalist early in his career, shooting black and white photos for print. Today he has adopted as an intentional aesthetic the use of an iPhone and simple cameras to produce photos that are printed as-is, with little or no digital manipulation.
Taylor’s travels have taken him to 29 nations and all 50 states. He maintains an active membership in the Fellowship of Reconciliation and serves on the Board of Fons Vitae Press, and is a member of the Board of the Louisville Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He is also a member of the North American Interfaith Alliance. Terry collaborates on projects and events with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville; the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Louisville; the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky; the Islamic Cultural Center of Louisville; the Baha’is of the Kentuckiana area; the Drepung Gomang Institute (Louisville’s Tibetan Buddhist community); the Ten Thousand Buddhas Summit Monastery of Corydon, Indiana; the Hindu Temple of Kentucky, and Kentuckiana American Indian Advocates.
Peace Postcards will also participate in the event with a public art project set up outside of the Patio Gallery. Peace Postcards is a public art project based out of Louisville that allows people to draw on postcards their vision of peace and add them to a gallery of postcards from all over the world. Some of the postcards will be shown in Peace Postcard exhibitions.
Peace Postcards began in January 2009. Allan Weiss, a Louisville lawyer and peace activist working with Interfaith Paths to Peace, wondered what would happen if the public were allowed to draw their visions of peace on postcards. Five years later, Peace Postcards has more than 20,000 postcards from 25 countries around the world.
Weiss takes the postcards displays to showings worldwide. In August 2012, he displayed cards at the Hiroshima memorial in Japan – the first American organization to be part of that memorial. In September 2012, he took 200 cards to the Tehran Peace Museum in Iran.
Weiss said the majority of the cards are from children because it’s easier to get schools to participate, but the cards are open to everyone. The display at the JCC will have easels set up for anyone to make art, and the cards will be displayed on the glass walls of the library.
For more information on Peace Postcards, visit Peacepostcards.org.