John Lennon’s lyrics for peace have helped inspire a Sunderland exhibition which has gone global.
All We Are Saying - a line from Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance song - opens at Sunderland Minster this week in response to world conflict and war.
It’s the brainchild of Sunderland artist Barrie West whose idea has resonated with artists around the world.
“It started as an idea a year ago at the time of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in Gaza,” he explained. “I was prompted by a picture of a father carrying his dead child. It really affected me and I decided to do art work as therapy and protest at the continuing wars springing up.
“I asked the Minster if I could exhibit the work for a month and decided I needed help from other artists. I invited anyone to pick up the theme of artists for peace.”
From that acorn grew a large-scale exhibition which features calligraphy, poetry, photography, sculpture, creative writing and more from local artists, as well as those from as far afield as America and New Zealand.
The idea snowballed so much it’s also taking place at various other sites in Seaham’s Church Street, Newcastle, Gateshead, Liverpool and South Germany.
Barrie added: “It’s really gone global. One idea I had a year ago really seems to have fired people’s imaginations. A lot of people have something important to say about the need for peace in the world. It’s satisfying to know I’m not alone in how I feel, it’s hit a nerve. People are sick of hearing about death and destruction, the terrible deaths in Syria, the refugee crisis. It’s about time people find an alternative to world war to solve problems.”
As part of the display people are crafting origami crane birds, 1,000 of which will be displayed in the Minster’s yurt.
All We Are Saying will also be contributing to Friday’s City of Culture bid launch at nearby Keel Square.
Performance artists, musicians and poets will perform in the Minster from Friday at 5.30pm to 8pm.
Anyone can contribute to the exhibition in the future, as long as art works are nonreligious, non-political, non-partisan and not for profit. To take part email BarrieWestArtist@aol.com
l All We Are Saying (Artists for Peace) is at Sunderland Minster until October 8. It can be viewed Monday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Entry is free.