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International Exhibiton for Peace

 

ART, the way to the Peace - steps of International Exhibition for Peace

Lecture by Emiko HORIMOTO

in the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the foundation of Girl Scouts House

at the Girl Scouts House in Tokyo, Japan on 12 Sept., 2004

Everything was started by the unexpected encouter with Mr. Christian Sigue, a French gentleman who is now a General Producer to the International Exhibition for Peace. In April, 1999, he visited Japan on business and happened to come into an exhibition hall where I had a private exhibition of my art works. My works seemed to make him moved so much that he was sending me an email since then for nearly six months continuously extending his excitement on my works with a message of his wish to introduce my art to his home country.

In December, 2002, Mr. Sigue's dream came true. With his favors, I, as one of the Japanese Artists, was invited to the Modern Arts Exhibition of Japanese Artists, which was taken place in commemorating the Japan-Korea World Cup Football event. All of my works reached more or less two weeks before an opening of the Exhibition and were to be put into the safest place at Nantes. It was the Headquarters of Nantes Army. And then another opportunity for exhibiting my works and having a presentation were offered to me with this. What should I talk to military people? This question caused me hesitation that it nearly made me say "no" to the offer. "Art and mind, those are the best and the most needed topics to talk to them..." With Mr. Sigue's encouragement I could finally make up my mind to accept the offer. To my surprise, institution's buildings were formerly used as monastery, were built of stone, and remained figures of Holly Mary and some saints around. I had become quite confident in what I was going to do.

A title of my lecture was "On War and Art". Summary is as follows:
... The Creator of Universe hopes for progress and harmony. Whenever each country claims any good things for itself, there bears conflict that causes them into war. Although we all know that we have to stop the war, there is a fact that it is hard to do so... You may have heard of a world famous French bland, "Hermes". Hermes appears in ancient Greek myths, which symbolizes War and Art as well. Primarily to sweep all the evils away was the function of War. And it comes to the role of Art to lead people's mind into supernatural world, reminding of harmony in heaven and prevailing ultimate "Peace" on earth...

Then I explained about my works, the essence of my art, by quoting my book The Blue of Mind The Blue of Prayer . Summary is as follows:
...In my life, I have two unexpected experiences. The one is divorce and the other is cancer. After getting divorce, I was hospitalized, had become a critical condition and got near-death experience then. Through this mysterious experience, I have become aware of existence of myself being immortal in the form of soul, though my mind itself stays out of my body. This has become the turning point in my life in my view of "life", "death" and "the way to live". Now I can say, any experience that happens to me through my works to express the world of mind and soul, must be inevitable affairs. There is nothing that has no meaning. This world is a learning opportunity for life - this is what I have made realized. If you could feel peace, hope and unlimited energy and get a key to open your mind by appreciating creative works of arts and poems in such sterile days, there is the meaning of why you were born and are alive in this world. Thus I spend my days in full of thanks...

In finishing my presentation, several people of Nantes' Army came to me to share their near-death experiences. As they work at the front in the extreme, so life and death must be closely felt around them. My presentation followed by my art works moved the top of Nantes Army to ask for Mr. Sigue to station in Kosovo as civilian working for UN Peacekeepers. One of their requests to Mr. Sigue was to organize my exhibition in Kosovo. In March, 2003, the first International Exhibition for Peace was held at the Kosova Art Gallery, Pristina, Kosovo.

The situation around Pristina was so unstable that I myself gave up being present at the Exhibition. However Mr. Sigue conveyed through TV program introducing my presentation at Nantes Army instead and stroke a chord with Kosova people. The 2nd IEP was held in Mitrovica, where is separated from residential area of Serbian people and that of Albanian people by the river. It was a kind of miracle, they said, to be able to hold the IEP there by means of being so successful in having art works of Serbian and Albanian artists together in spite of several obstacles to tackle with for its realization. The situation around Old Yugoslavia is so complicated with races, languages and the others. More than fifty per cent of people in Kosovo are still unemployed and are living under the protection of UN Peace Keepers, that means once they would withdraw, possibility of breaking out of conflicts would become very high. Help and assistance by international society are needed. It is not known the fact that financial support given by Japanese government stays in the third from the top after EU and USA. I as an artist but a private citizen would like to work for Peace through IEP with people in Kosovo together. I say here that I never give up.

Media broadcasts pictures beyond imagination taken at troubled areas throughout the world. We ourselves are able to send our message for Peace worldwide through images and pictures, too. People in Kosovo also utilize computer and enjoy communicating with people abroad through internet. This kind of progress in IT will bring some changes for the better. For example, to Kosovo I myself sent pictures of my works and drawings of Kosova children together taken in the hall at the Girl Scouts House on my mobile-phone. Building a mutual understanding at a private-sector level must be the first step for the Peace Worldwide.

Our belief might be Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and whatever. However the Creator of Universe gives love equally to us all. If we could take things this way, everybody will be able to get along beautifully with others, to value respective race and to broaden views. Spreading this awareness must be the only way for making Peace possible. Be less assertive but agree to disagree, then evolution will be in front of us. It is our role to pass on the preciousness of life to children, the bearers of our future.

(Traslator: Mariko Asano)

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