SUMMIT, NJ – Summit artist Pat Saxton woke up two years ago with a sudden desire to inspire people to create peace. Hers was not a lofty goal of finding world peace, but rather an attainable creative project of inspiring hope, joy and the practice of daily, mindful peace.
Each Monday, Saxton posted a creative representation aimed at encouraging peace on an individual level. “I wanted to get people thinking about how they can manifest peace in an everyday way,” she said.
A graphic designer for 25 years, Saxton says she has “a knack for taking one design element and turning it into a thousand different things.”
Her project, “52 Weeks of Peace,” features thoughtful and even fun takes on the peace sign, from a “delicious offering of peace” cupcake with peace sign sprinkles, a “chain reaction” peace sign of paperclips and a “yield to peace” road sign, among many others.
Her graphic representation of pumpkin pie, created in November 2009, recently caught the eye of artists and professors at Jersey City University who were planning “Afterwards and Forwards,” a reflective exhibit to mark the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“My pumpkin pie piece has several different implications,” Saxton explains. “Pumpkin pie is an American staple and is very symbolic. The knife used to cut the pie signifies the War on Terror. And those actors in that war are fighting for the biggest piece of pie.”
According to Saxton, all of the artists taking part in the exhibit have “shown dedication toward peace in their work over time.”
The show considers the implications of the momentous events of 9/11 and endeavors to shed light on a host of prevailing issues about violence in the world and to promote dialogue, deeper reflection, meditation, and contextualization relating to or emerging from the 9/11 disaster.
The group show will feature works by 18 international artists, including Joel Meyerowitz, Yoko Ono, and Ultra Violet, as well as two works on loan from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The exhibit will be on display from Monday, August 29 through Tuesday, September 27, in the Visual Arts Gallery, 100 Culver Avenue in Jersey City. An artists’ reception will be held 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 12.
Gallery hours are 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment. For further information call Dr. Midori Yoshimoto, NJCU director of campus galleries, at (201)200-2197.
In addition to her participation in the exhibit, Saxton’s work “52 Weeks of Peace” was just published by Lighthouse Books in a postcard-book format. Also, perhaps in a twist of fate, the book’s release coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps.