last august in LA, it was a delight to meet fellow arab-american artist reem hammad and see her sublime ceramic art at an arab american art exhibition called Colors of the Arab World she participated in at american friend's service committee (AFSC) LA gallery.
according to the afsc history page: "The American Friends Service Committee was founded in 1917 to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors an opportunity to serve those in need instead of fighting during World War I."
a new exhibition of peace art featuring 9 artists and designers at AFSC gallery opening in los angeles january 14, 2010—Canvassing Peace—will be on for six months and continues this almost 100 year old tradition of working towards world peace. the JUST PEACE/salaam/shalom t-shirts which i designed in the 1980s are re-emerging in a world still seeking peace. they are on display along with other t-shirts i designed then for the Oregon Peace Institute in this exhibition, and the much sought-after JUST PEACE buttons.
the opening reception is january 14, 2010 from 6-8:30pm at AFSC Friends Gallery, 634 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90014.
this is in the old garment district of downtown LA in which my father and uncle Mike had their Sawaya Brothers Wholesale Dry Goods store just a couple of blocks over on Los Angeles Street when i was growing up. now this neighborhood is called the LA Downtown Arts District aplenty with lofts and studios! what a twist of fate!
here's the building as it is now. when i was growing up, it was flanked by two parking lots and there was giant lettering "SAWAYA BROS. WHOLESALE DRY GOODS" along the length of the building overlooking the parking lot facing north. the current tenants, Persians, sell beautiful fabrics. i was teary-eyed with nostalgia as i wandered through taking photos. my dad's little office remained in the same front corner of the building. without a doubt the neighborhood has changed; and the wooden vertical ladders that slid along both sides of the store to reach the tallest shelves that my sister vivian and i used to "ride" were history. but the painted address lettering over the door could have been—and reminded me of—what was there years ago. i was delighted the building still stood. and cole's famous french dip sandwiches—founded in 1908 the city's first public house just around the corner from his store, where daddy treated us to amazing sandwiches and the best dill pickles ever—lives on although a shadow of its former glory days. another full circle of time and memory.
as for the opening night, i wish i could be there! my dear friend Gail Gordon Carter has four of her paintings in the show. how cool that the t-shirts i designed are on display and yet how sad that this message is still needed in the world. let me know if you want to order some t-shirts or buttons. it might just be time to revive them! salaam/shalom to all in the coming decade. peace, peace, peace!