June 21, 2020 Live from the road

Ellenbrook, WA

Reported by Grahak Cunningham

Ellenbrook (a suburb of Perth) is being inundated with peace with art displays at Ellenbrook Central and Ellenbrook Arts. The art consists of abstract works by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy (pictured in statue) and local art by school children from Riverlands Montessori School, who were also inspired to join the artistic project dedicated to peace.

The opening ceremony for the gallery was held on June 21, one of the first in the state as galleries begin to awaken from an enforced slumber. It was the same day that Grahak Cunningham signed up for the virtual Belarus and Russian Peace Run which started on the 22nd of June.

The screen exhibit in the busy shopping centre nearby was an added bonus, organised when galleries didn’t look like being reopened and is collaboration between the Peace Run, Vidtiser and Ellenbrook Central. All the framed original pieces carry the artist’s signature birds which Sri Chinmoy viewed as messengers of peace and freedom. “The caged bird,” he poetically said, “is crying for freedom. The uncaged bird is striving for peace.” So impactful has the message been from the art it has drawn comments from Nobel Peace Laureates Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev.

At the opening there was live music, food and a great energy in the gallery. Ellenbrook Arts Executive Director, Gemma Ben-Ary said, “Art is one of our main ways of expression. Images are part of our story telling and it has importantly been missing for the last few months. This exhibition looks at the idea of peace, something that the world has considered for a long time and it still needs to be considered as a message today.”

Member for Swan Hills, Jessica Shaw, helped open the event and shared her views on peace and Sri Chinmoy’s meditative influence at the United Nations: “We have all had very isolated lives lately. For me this is one of the first community events as we emerge and it is an important step... art can communicate to us all without words. It’s a universal form of language, it can help teach us to look inside and reflect and it’s also a shared experience. Art can definitely be a key part of peace. It’s a way we can all unify around shared principles.” We look forward to having Ms Shaw perhaps come to some Peace Run school ceremonies in the future!

The contributions from local primary children was welcomed. The Peace Run was invited to local schools in the Ellenbrook area as part of the Art celebrations but then lockdown started. The art gave kids a way to still participate.

“Peace is not just an absence of war,” said Prabuddha Nicol, who helped organise the exhibition. “It is more of a presence. Often for children this might mean being happy, joyful, more self-giving and just inspirational and the art of the children definitely has this message. We hope to visit some the local schools with the Peace torch once it is allowed again."

“The City of Swan is a great example of oneness; people from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds coming together to live in this special area. It is a perfect place to have an exhibition that promotes peace,” said Prabuddha. The art is on display at Ellenbrook Arts until July 17.

Torch carried by
Anubha Baird (Australia), Grahak Cunningham (Australia), Hastakamala Diaz (Australia), Prabuddha Nicol (Australia).  
Hastakamala Diaz

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