USA: Kunst gegen den Einsatz von Landminen

Die Monongalia Kunstgalerie in West Virginia zeigt Kunst für das Verbot von Landminen und Streubomben bis zum 01. Februar. (in Englisch)


Monongalia Arts Center gallery challenges use of landmines

“A World of Difference” will reveal the history of landmines and cluster bombs through shocking photographs and colorful depictions.
“Back in 1999, I had assigned my students a project where they had to research a global issue and make art about it,” said Nora Sheets, an art teacher at St. Francis Catholic School. “The project turned into a group.”

The project, called PSALM, or Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs, started with four 7th graders and continued to grow into the 50 members there are today.
“I think the students drew interest after they learned that a third of landmine victims are children,” Sheets said. “They were able to understand.”
Inside the gallery, visitors can also develop a relationship with innocence from the sharp colors green, blue, red and yellow. The visuals descend from the ceiling in a sculpture, lending a sense of overflowing positivity.
Sheets said the students were instructed to create a form of art that would invite visitors into the gallery.
“When the organization first started, the kids had a sculpture of 500 shoes,” Sheets said. “The reason they chose 500 is because that’s how many people were killed or injured by landmines per week.”
A painting of Nelson Mandela will cover the back wall of the gallery. Continuing the same prime colors of the sculpture, the painting will present colored handprints and a black silhouette of Mandela’s face.
“One of the things he really did was push countries in Africa to get on board with the Mine Ban Treaty,” Sheets said. “It was really his influence and impact that got things rolling.”
Since buried landmines have the potential to remain active for more than 50 years, the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, aims at eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world. There are 161 countries that are party to the Ottawa Treaty, yet the United States is not one of them.
The art will help ease visitors into seeing the reality of landmines through photographs of maimed civilians from all parts of the world.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 110 million active mines scattered throughout 70 countries. The number of mines is equal to the number being stockpiled.
“Next year, there will be a big summit for countries to sign the Ottawa Treaty,” Sheets said.
As reported by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the terms for signing the treaty would require a country to cease production and development of landmines, and all stockpiled mines must be eradicated in four years. After 10 years, the signed country should have cleared all its mined areas.
“The students did a lot of research on landmines around the world and finding the names of activist organizations,” Sheets said.
On the right side of the gallery, visitors will find a world map. The graphic display presents the international coalition of campaigns to ban landmines and cluster munitions. Hundreds of organizations are presented.
“One interesting fact from the show is landmines and cluster bombs have killed more than biological chemicals and nuclear weapons combined,” Sheets said.
The gallery of the global campaigns to ban landmines and cluster bombs will be presented in the Benedum Gallery of the Monongalia Arts Center today through Feb. 1.


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