International Anti-War Cartoon Exhibit
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Before a packed crowd at Gateway Community College’s NewAlliance Foundation Art Gallery on March 14, Jelena Plakalovic, the Third Secretary of the Serbian Mission to the United Nations, thanked Gateway for hosting an acclaimed International Anti-War Cartoon Exhibit and for spreading a message of peace.
“It is an honor to be present here,” she said. “This is a peace movement of much significance.”
Plakalovic said the anti-war cartoons held great meaning to her, to the people of her home city, Kragujevac, Serbia, as well as to the nation of Serbia. Three thousand civilians, including 300 school children, were killed by the Nazis over the course of two days in Kragujevac in October, 1941.
Since the massacre, the people of Kragujevac have worked tirelessly toward peace, she said. In the 1980s, an anti-war cartoon salon took shape there, leading to a biennial exhibit of anti-war cartoons, which has since traveled around the world.
“The salon is a way for artists to spread a message of peace while also mocking and ridiculing war and violence,” she said.
Gateway’s exhibit marked only the second time it has been seen in a U.S. city. It heads next to the United Nations. The exhibit was presented by GCC and the New Haven Peace Commission in collaboration with the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities, the Greater New Haven Peace Council and the city of New Haven.
GCC President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick welcomed Plakalovic and all of the dignitaries, administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members in attendance. Earlier in the day, Plakalovic toured the new downtown campus with GCC administrators.
Dr. Kendrik said the college is “committed to the pursuit of peaceful conflict resolution through education and exposure to the perspectives of diverse cultures and belief systems.” She quoted a Chinese proverb, “When my heart is at peace, the world is at peace.”
Featuring 70 anti-war cartoons from around the world, the exhibit commemorated the New Haven Peace Commission’s 25th anniversary. The reception featured catering by the Elm City Market, served by GCC Culinary arts students, and music by Richard Barnes.
"Five hundred artists responded to the call for submissions to the acclaimed International Exhibit of Anti-War Cartoons from all over the world, using the medium of this art form, the cartoon, to express their opposition to violence and war, in the long tradition of artists using their talents for peace,” said Alfred L. Marder, chairman of the City of New Haven Peace Commission and President of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. “I am so appreciative to Gateway for hosting the exhibit.”
Jorge Perez, president of New Haven’s Board of Aldermen, said it is important for people in all American cities and towns to take the time to pause and consider peace. “We truly believe justice cannot prevail without peace,” he said.
Kim S. Healy of the NewAlliance Foundation said she was proud that an art exhibit celebrating peace was the first to be shown in a gallery that is at “the crossroads of New Haven and the world.” Healy said she hoped that students, faculty, staff and people from the community would visit the gallery often, stopping in to see this and all subsequent exhibits and “have a moment of peace and quiet reflection.”
When Nicholas F. Halko, GCC professor and program coordinator of art, was hanging the show with his assistant, they were struck by the range of feelings the cartoons stirred up. “Some are the funniest things you’ve ever seen. Some are a little snarky and some are very poignant,” he said. “It’s beautiful."
Carol Brutza, GCC Social Science professor of peace studies and language literacy, said Gateway’s emerging peace studies collaborative is becoming a community resource for peace studies and nonviolent conflict resolution. She encouraged those in attendance to visit the Library and Learning Commons to see the Peace Studies Special Collection and to attend upcoming discussion series events including a Big Read on April 22.
This event was made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of the Gateway Community College Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports Gateway Community College and its mission. Money raised by the Foundation funds student scholarships, helps purchase state-of-the-art classroom equipment and materials and provides professional development opportunities for college educators and personnel.