Peace by Lou Hamilton


This is a mixed media piece, which I created from an old Peace t-shirt that I designed for our Brave New You Apparel, along with crumpled rice-paper put in place with adhesive, calligraphy ink and acrylic.

It builds outwards in concentric circles to create a target-like effect. The peace-sign is reminiscent of the Ban the Bomb campaign in the seventies and eighties, and earlier in the late sixties when I was living in Canada it was a strong symbol of protest against the Vietnam War. A target is normally used for practice with a weapon, a point of focus towards which we aim and kill.

By putting the peace sign at the centre of the target, it creates a moment of protest, perhaps a thought for the victim, a question as to the pointlessness of killing, of warfare, of pitting one against another.

I made this piece just before the recent attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas HighSchool in Parkland, Florida, which was the 17th U.S. school shooting within the first 45 days of 2018. The artwork became all the more poignant as news of the horror filled our screens in the aftermath of the killing; fourteen children and 3 teachers mown down by a 19-year-old young man wearing a gas mask and toting an
assault rifle. But the mass murder didn’t trigger more violence. Instead children, their teachers and supporters across the nation took to the streets to call for the end of gun crime, for a change in gun laws, to urge for a more peaceful approach to living alongside one another; one that requires teachers to be armed with pencils not weaponry.

There was a chilling calm in the call for peace by children to the leaders of their nation. The stance of a nation starts with the responsibility by each individual. This painting is not just about external violence, but also about the internal machinations, negativity, anger and aggressive thoughts that play out in our heads.

Reaching some kind of personal peace is a life long process, taking daily practice and discipline. Learning peaceful negotiation with oneself is the start to being able to create it in our personal relationships, communities and between nations. This is the backdrop with which we stand before the painting; a simple piece of concentric circles in calming blues with the character from my books, Brave New Girl, holding up the peace sign at its centre.

We can focus our minds, with soft attention on our tensions, and with each breath allow ourselves a more peaceful mindset. Can a painting do that? Maybe its enough, if you like it, to hang it as a gentle reminder to take a minute out of your busy day, take a few breaths, relax your shoulders and neck, and centre yourself in the spirit of calm.

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Original art




Rice paper, fabric, ink, acrylic

Ready to hang





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