Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art and War

At the American Friends Service Committee, we have been working on a mural project entitledWindows and Mirrors: The War in Afghanistan. As a peace and social justice organization, we are very concerned with civilian deaths as a by-product of war and, therefore, reached out to artists to respond to those civilian deaths in Afghanistan in their own artistic style on a piece of 4ft x 6.5ft piece of polytab fabric.

The response has been amazing with over 50 artists creating mural panels as well as college students and elementary school students collaborating on pieces. This soon-to-be travelling exhibit will open on October 7, 2010, the 9th anniversary of the war, in Philadelphia at the Quaker Meeting House at 4th and Arch. It will be on display for four weeks and a local committee is planning several events around it including participation in the First Friday gallery walk and ways for viewers to take action. It will then continue to tour the country with the next stop in New York at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College.

Although I cannot yet reveal what the exhibit looks like in its entirety, I did want to share the work of one artist, Geoff Krawczyk. The entire office was abuzz when his mural piece arrived. Staff person after staff person walked into the conference room where it was unrolled and stared into its mesmerizing sky. The little girl in the foreground seemed to be asking the heavens, "Why?" and we all sat in silence hoping for an answer.

On his website (, there are more works that pull us into the mystery of death and its language that we can't quite grasp. I am entranced by the juxtaposition of this destruction and the peaceful sensation created by his work. We are all thrilled to have such powerful artistic creations to engage people on the topic of civilian casualties and are also happy that this exhibit will bring the work of exciting emerging artists like Krawczyk to new audiences.


  1. The highlighted parts are what the spell checker picked up. I didn't know that they would post like that - whoops ;0)

  2. Wow! What a powerful work!