Glyn Hughes

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Artists examine meaning

of democracy


More than 60 years after Norman Rockwell's quintessentially American ''Four Freedoms'' posters were created, the illustrator is inspiring other artists to delve into the meaning of democracy through art.

Sixty contemporary artists and graphic designers were asked by the Wolfsonian-Florida International University design museum to create works that reinterpret Rockwell's posters, which were themselves inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 address to Congress.

The exhibit, called ''Thoughts on Democracy,'' opens July 5 and runs until Dec. 7. It is part of ''Celebrating America,'' four exhibits on view this year and next that will examine various aspects of the American experience.

The basic idea was ''to create new work, but create work that is looking at the past,'' said Tim Hossler, the museum's art director.

''The political situation in America, with an election, it just seemed like a perfect choice.''

The posters will be displayed in the lobby of the museum, so that everyone can view the posters without paying an entry fee.

Leonard A. Lauder recently donated 150 posters, including Rockwell's ''Four Freedoms,'' to the museum along with books and newspapers from the WWII period.


Cathy Leff, the Wolfsonian's director, said the idea behind the exhibit was to provoke people to think about democracy, but also to stay true to the museum and its identity as a design museum.

''We're really interested that people understand graphics ... the persuasive power of art and design,'' she said. ''We're hoping that it really inspires people to take part, to think about it in the context of our times.''

Many of the artists who participated in the project put the ''four freedoms'' - freedom of worship, freedom from fear, freedom of speech and freedom from want - in the context of politics and world affairs.

Lawrence Weiner, a New York-based artist, created a poster that has the words ''WATER FINDS ITS OWN LEVEL'' in yellow and outlined with blue ink.

The words are gradually going up and then fall into the word ''WITH,'' which is in red ink. The four freedoms are listed below in black ink.

''It's about the fact that water does find its own level, that if we allow people to have freedoms and take away the basic fears of life, they will excel,'' Weiner said.

''Human beings are inherently good, but without those freedoms it becomes rather difficult.''

Elliott Earls, designer-in-residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, used his then-3-year-old daughter Scarlett as a model for his poster, which was loosely based on the French artist Eugene Delacroix's painting of ''Liberty Leading the People.''


A crying Scarlett, adorned with a golden crown and a blue gown pushed down to her waist, revealing her upper torso, is holding what looks like a play sword.

Behind her is the US flag and two people are reaching for her.

The word ''Liberty'' is printed in blue capital letters at the top of the poster and ''WEEPS'' is at the bottom with what looks like a splattering of blood.

''The image is really supposed to provoke an empathetic response in the viewer,'' Earls said. ''Our political situation is pretty rife with liberty itself that is under assault ... We're in desperate need of leadership.

“We need to take a good hard look at the Constitution and make sure we respect civil liberties and the intentions of the Founding Fathers.''

Graphic designers William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand of the design company Winterhouse, based in Falls Village, Connecticut, run a design blog called

They plan to put up a slideshow of several posters on their blog and will mail the poster they created to 1,000 people who deal with public policy.

They thought about the four freedoms in relation to the Internet, including copyright online.

''I think it's actually a huge territory where rights need to be protected and discussed and paid attention to,'' Drenttel said.

Originally, Rockwell did four paintings that were selected and published by the Office of War Information as promotional posters, and the images were used to sell war bonds. They raised over $133m, said Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which houses the original paintings.


The posters were put up in every post office in the country and are considered four of the most widely reproduced images of this nation of all time, she said.

''Rockwell's work remains so contemporary and universal,'' she said.

''These are still the ideals that we strive for and fight to protect today ... I think it's fair to ask today how are we doing on this freedom scale.''

Students’ work on show

WORK by students of the Cyprus College of Art can be seen at Kypriaki Gonia.

This is a mixed media show and reflects the great talents an wide range of interests of the young people who come to Cyprus to study under the experienced eye of Stass Paraskos.

The college offers a BA in Creative Arts, an ASET/OCA course, three years full time or longer part time.

Haris Paspalis - beautiful paintings

A NOTE written in pencil was passed to me just after the Jannis Kounellis lecture at the Melina Mercouri last month.

The author wrote that I liked his own work five years ago in a Nicosia Gallery and could I try and visit his new show at Strovolos Town Hall.

And there it was.

A totally abstract presentation of extremely beautiful paintings.

Oil paint had been used, as had pebbles (stones) and sometimes pieces of cloth.

A calmness reigned.

Haris had studied in Thessaloniki but actually hails from Paphos where he has his studio and teaches art.

You might expect a tumble of paint, stones and cloth to result in something aggressive but these paintings had the solemn majesty of a Beethoven piano sonata. Serious, deep and very moving.

Elsewhere, Haris had also used window frames to create a "jumble" of geometrical layers.

These were also extremely impressive.

Unfortunately, the exhibition only lasted a few days.

It appears that others are exhibiting at Strovolos Town Hall these days. Out of town – easy parking at the rear of the building.

Good lighting too.

I had a phone call earlier this week.

Joyce Vantal-Chalmers will have an exhibition at Strovolos Town Hall on July 9, from 6pm to 8 pm, and it will continue until the 11th of the month.

A very busy line-up

for Kyriaki Costa

IN September Kyriaki Costa will be in Germany to create stage and costume design for Dance House Dusseldorf for a contemporary dance performance called ‘On Liquid Times.’

In October Kyriaki will be in London to participate in the London Barge House’ Group exhibition.

In November, she will be in France where, at The St Etienne Biennale, her work will be displayed under the heading "Weaving as a Metaphor for Being".

Later, in November, Kyriaki will be at the Benaki Museum presentation of her prize "Prix de public" from the design Biennale in France from two years before.

Kyriaki will, of course, still be exhibiting at her fabulous fashion centre by Ayia Varvara in Kaimakli.

Many galleries have now mixed summer exhibitions.

 27April2006   Art by Glyn Hughes - Cyprus weekly news paper           web creator  and updater V.P.Vasuhan -     @  redindian001   - Art work shop paris