Ray Of Hope by Joan Burger Siem (USA)

    Artists may sometimes feel powerless, but they certainly aren’t. J.F. Kennedy once talked about how Art nourishes the roots of a culture, giving it something to strive toward and something to be remembered by. When a culture is gone, what remains of it is the Art it produced. Fifty years ago JF Kennedy started a program called “Art In Embassies”. It was intended to help promote peace through art around the world. I have had the privilege of being invited to participate in this program by exhibiting in our embassies in very far away places. This I’ve been doing for 2 years and have committed to about 2 more years. Artists from the different countries also exhibit, and barriers are broken down.

    In counties where the government tries to control its population, the first thing it does is to try to control the artists, use art as propaganda and silence opposition by artists. This tells us that artists do have a great deal of power, and we can direct the world toward fairness for all.

    In my painting, “Ray Of Hope” the ray is hovering over the entire planet. Hope must include kindness to all, including all living creatures and the planet. How can we expect a culture that tolerates mistreatment of animals and the planet to be kind to all humans? We must strive to drive out cruelty in all its forms.

    A ray of hope is meant for everyone, and it has a way to enter into the core of the world. The entrance is small, and will take some work to find. By leaving the surface, with it’s cultural differences, and entering the core where our basic humanity is free of tribal differences, is where hope can reach everyone for a just future. At the core, fundamental fairness for all, and the sharing and care of our planet is what we are hoping for.  We can live in peace only when our planet and all of us are treated fairly.

    In the last two years I have been exhibiting in The Art In Embassies Program started by John F. Kennedy over 50 years ago to promote peace around the world through art. I was invited to exhibit in The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait (2014 – 2016) and in The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar (2016- 2018)

    For many years I lived and painted abroad in Norway, Denmark and Japan. I taught painting at South Jutland Art Academy in Denmark and at The University Of Maryland. Having returned to my homeland, I now spend part of the year in Maine and part in Houston – with my husband, violinist and conductor, Trond Saeverud. Living in different countries has taught me how easy it is for cultures to misunderstand each other – and that art can bridge the gaps and bring people together.