Politically speaking, I came of age in the 1990’s, a time when many activists eschewed the nonviolent, peaceful protest tactics developed in previous decades. Direct action was seen as the only way for the marginalized to tip the scales toward equality. Socially sanctioned, majority supported forms of protest were renounced as ineffective and outdated – the more legitimate, the more aggressively they were dismissed as playing into the structures of power. The general feeling was that only those projects that were transient and had embedded elements of guerrilla warfare could be autonomous enough to escape the oppressive structures that we opposed. Steeped in this climate, my 19-year old self revered entropy and chaos as essential elements of revolution.
Yet, from the perspective of the U.S., the forces of chaos seem much more present in the world today, bringing flash and fire, absorbing and destroying everything in their path. Transient eruptions seize the attention of the media, and then consume us. Meanwhile, the difficult and time-consuming work of peace continues unnoticed. My younger self thought that peace just happens – that it is the absence of war or violence. In fact, peace not only must be built, but also maintained. It has to be continually activated with intention and purpose. Peace is built in relationships, and in slow tedious steps. Not unlike thousands of years of work done by women, peace creation is often overlooked and undervalued.
A call to peace is not a prescription, silencing righteous anger and grief. It is a nod to the levels of work constantly done behind stage, setting the scene for a world we want to live in. It is an acknowledgement that an absence of interest in peace reveals situational privilege and lack of empathy for those who live under the constant threat of violence. Every person has the choice to figure out for themselves what forms of reconciliation may be necessary to find their personal peace. Peace is not the lack of action. It is not a product but a process, and creating peace requires the thoughtful effort of all of us.
Printed at Artist Image Resource in Pittsburgh, PA.
These prints are from a very small number of remainders from our Community Supported Art subscription program in 2018. We only have a few of these prints available!