I mentioned, I had to change the place of my installation once and I am glad I did. The artist that exhibited in my place has one of the best, most empowering artworks at this edition of Florence Biennale.
Her name is Sangeeta Abhay and her installation is called Peace Worrior.
The main idea of the artwork is that education leads to peace. It is something that I believe should be common sense by now, that if we want change, education is the key.
I would add that educating children in all aspects of life as soon as possible is the best thing. I do not believe that there is such a thing as a child is too young to know or understand something. It’s just that you might have to deliver the information in a different way than to an older child or adult. However, I do believe it is important for children to know as much as possible before they reach puberty and, especially, before they become adults, because as an adult, I must admit that “ain’t nobody got time to inform themselves”. Not in aspects that do not directly and imediately influence their life.
Getting back to Sangeeta’s work, I love the way she depicted the warrior with wings made of pencils. I see it as a reference to “the pencil is mightier that the sword” or that information is more powerful than violence or fear.
The head of the warrior looks like a Buddha and the whole experience is made to be zen and bring peace to the mind of the viwer. On it’s head is written in many languages: Education leads to peace. While many things are true only in certain cultures or contexts, I do believe that this is an universally true statement, independent of culture or context.
I do hope the visitors took the time to sit there through the whole experience because you do come out more at peace and it is a nice break (or if it’s one of the first things you see in the exhibition, a nice preparation) from all the imagery that will challenge your mind throughout the exhibition. It is really a nice show they put up with great artworks, but it is a huge space with so much to see and it is like a labirinth which might cause you to get distracted and miss something. Seeing Sangeeta’s installation would give you the peace of mind to patiently see all the other artworks.
The body of the Peace Warrior and the projection create an anamorphose which depicts flowers blooming alternating with inspirational quotes about education and peace. The fact that she chose this way to convey the message is relevant to me because it makes me think that the information is out there (the projection), but we need education to give it meaning (the Peace Worrior).
The whole experience is enhanced by the Indian music with lyrics by Dnyaneshwar, a 13 century poet that wrote about universal peace. Sangeeta told me that she thinks we all want peace, but in the rush of everyday life, we forget and what she feels she can do as an artist is to remind people of this.
I do find it peaceful to be in the space created by her through this installation. It also confronts you with some issues that are very meaningful and important to have in mind.
After all, education is the only way to be better.
I am really happy I met Sangeeta. She is a wonderful person and presence.