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Museum on the Seam statement: Image of Coexistence Traveling the World

Official statement from The Museum on the Seam for Dialogue, Understanding and Coexistence regarding the CoeXisT image

Museum on the Seam, July 11, 2005
By: Raphie Etgar, Director and Curator

 

Over the past few months it has come to our attention that the COEXIST image created by Piotr Mlodozeniec expressly for exhibition "Coexistence" initiated and produced by the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem is being used in many different contexts and claimed as a trademark for companies.

This compelling image was created by the artist Piotr Mlodozeniec in 2000 as his contribution to the International "Coexistence" Competition initiated by the Museum on the Seam. The images were selected by a prestigious international jury and formed the nucleus of the international traveling exhibition.

Exhibition "Coexistence" is a giant outdoor art exhibition composed of over 50 images of coexistence created by artists from around the world. The international jury was made up of 17 prominent figures from different fields, including: Pierre Rosenberg, Director emeritus of Louvre Museum, Tadeo Ando, architect, Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize winning author, Dani Karavan, sculptor and others.

Since then the works have been displayed in a giant 3x5m (9x15 ft.) format in central and meaningful locations in major cities around the world (in front of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Reflecting Pool facing the Capital Buildings in Washington D.C.). The exhibition began its journey in Jerusalem and has since visited 24 cities, including Berlin, Amsterdam, Zurich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Sarajevo, Belfast, Cape Town, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Miami, Houston and others.

The exhibition currently continues its journey to many more cities including: Melbourne and Auckland and by popular demand second tours of North America (2007) and Europe (2008). We hope the language of art will continue to speak clearly and affect how we view our neighbor.

In each city many activities are held in conjunction with the exhibition, including: concerts, performances, seminars and discussions and none of these events were held without the full cooperation and approval of the Museum on the Seam. It is the nature of our exhibition to encourage events of this kind. We especially expect people in the creative fields to show sensitivity and respect to other's creative work and therefore in the case of our images being used without our knowledge or permission, we are amazed and disappointed.

It is the responsibility of the Museum on the Seam to protect the images and the rights of the artists participating in the exhibition. The Museum is a non-profit institution and our goal is to communicate through art a message of tolerance and peace. The powerful images in the exhibition have been seen by millions around the world and we receive requests all the time to use these images in other ways that we must reject. This is our obligation to the artists and to the exhibition itself to protect these images as part of a larger universal message. All use of these images is restricted to the Museum on the Seam by agreement with the artists.

The image of COEXIST made up of symbols of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is indeed a powerful message. In fact, this design was the runner up in our competition leading up to the exhibition in 2001. We have documentation regarding this image and its submission to the Museum in 2000 and the agreement with the artist granting the Museum rights to this image. The Museum uses these images in a highly limited way to help to fund the continued journey of the exhibition, in order to bring this vital message of coexistence to as many people as possible across the globe.

We at the Museum on the Seam, feel a great responsibility to protect our artists and these images created to make a contribution to a universal dialogue. We may never know how much art contributes to public opinion and how it influences an individual's thoughts. The Museum on the Seam sees art as a language with no boundaries, and tries to communicate with all ages, all religions and all nationalities.

This exhibition encourages people to think about issues of tolerance and understanding and raises questions that we must answer about ourselves and our communities. We bring this information to your attention with the hope that you will understand the background to the creation of this image and ask questions about how it is being used outside the rules of the game and without acknowledgement of its origins.

We hope that those who appreciate this image and others from around the world will contact us and we will begin a dialogue about sharing the message of coexistence and the images that speak to so many.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Raphie Etgar Director and Curator



© Museum on the Seam, 2005.



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