The Missing Peace Project

We live in a world of strife. Among the many organizations working to change this regrettable fact are the Committee of 100 for Tibet (C100) and the Dalai Lama Foundation (DLF), which together are curating and producing a large-scale art exhibition that will have its official debut at UCLA's Fowler Museum in June 2006. A preview show of The Missing Peace: The Dalai Lama Portrait Project will take place at the Cantor Center for Arts at Stanford University in September 2005, to coincide with a visit to that institution by the Dalai Lama, exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

After its debut at UCLA, the exhibition will travel throughout the world, likely to the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, the Contemporary Art Museum of Zagreb, the Tate Modern in London, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington. Other potential venues include the cities of Tokyo, Seoul, Stockholm, Sydney, Zurich, and Berlin. The show will travel the world through 2009–2010, according to Oakland, CA–based project curator Randy Rosenberg. Its purpose is to use art "to promote peace through conveying values embodied by the Dalai Lama," she said. Many of the works will be what she called "metaphoric portraits" that evoke the concepts of compassion, non-violence, tolerance, and happiness. The show won't be about religious zealotry but instead will draw from what the Dalai Lama represents as an icon for peace, she emphasized.

C100 includes many well-known human rights activists. Americans Joan Baez, Ramsey Clark, Coretta Scott King, Oliver Stone, Alice Walker, and Jann Wenner are among them, as are South African Nobel Laureate for Peace Desmond Tutu, his Northern Ireland counterpart Betty Williams, and British comic actor John Cleese. The project has recruited more than 70 contemporary artists from a variety of disciplines—literature, music, painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, animation, film, and video—who have committed to donating their work to this worthy project. Participants include composer/musician/performance artist Laurie Anderson, actor/photographer Richard Gere, and video artists Sanford Biggers and Bill Viola.

Still in the early phase of development, the Missing Peace Project is a global, non-partisan effort to fuse art and technology to promote the values and vision of the Dalai Lama. Already the recipient of several offers of in-kind donations, it still needs all the sponsors it can get, Rosenberg mentioned. The staging area is a large climate-controlled commercial space on San Francisco's Market Street, kindly loaned by a group of local real estate developers.

Many of the artworks will be technological—audio, video, and projection pieces. Because the artists are all contributing their works for free, there is a huge need for electronic equipment with which to display them. That's where you can help. Manufacturers, retailers, and hobbyists, make a note: Your prototypes, "B" stock, surplus inventory, and abandoned equipment can find new life. The Missing Peace Project needs video switchers and monitors, projectors and screens, line doublers, DVD players, CD players, amplifiers, loudspeakers, power filters, and cabling of all kinds. Almost anything electronic that might be appropriate in a recording studio, public performance venue, or home entertainment system would be useful for this project. If it works, your old gear can probably find a new purpose promoting peace throughout the world.

"In troubled times, individuals turn to art for hope, for inspiration, for answers to questions that have no answers. The exhibition's objective is to take the fear that is gripping today's society and transmute it into hope for the future and motivation to help change the world into what we all want it to be," reads the project's mission statement.

If you would like to donate, please contact Rosenberg via email. Phone inquiries about the Missing Peace Project should go to her at (510) 451-6610.

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