"In one way, having an enemy is very bad. It disturbs our mental peace and destroys some of our good things. But if we look at it from another angle, only an enemy gives us the opportunity to practise patience. No one else provides us with the opportunity for tolerance. Since we do not know the majority of the five billion human beings on this earth, therefore the majority of people do not give us an opportunity to show tolerance or patience either. Only those people whom we know and who create problems for us really provide us with a good opportunity to practise tolerance and patience."

Dalai Lama

Photo Gallery | Curator Statement | Related Press Reports & Websites | Shop 

Fact Sheet CLA Partners Population Center

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2004

What: Coexistence public art exhibit
Where/When: Hennepin County Government Center North Plaza, May 1 - June 12;
Rice Park, St. Paul, June 14 - July 6
Time: 24 hours a day
Who: Presented by College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota; created by Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem
What else: Opening ceremonies in Minneapolis on Monday, May 3, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm; in St. Paul on Monday, June 14 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
Admission: Free
FFI: Kelly O'Brien, College of Liberal Arts, 612-624-4109, obrie136@umn.edu. www.chgs.umn.edu.
Further exhibition info: http://www.coexistence.art.museum/

U of MN College of Liberal Arts to Present International Art Exhibit in Twin Cities
"Coexistence" exhibit fosters dialogue about equality, humanity, and fellowship.

Minneapolis-When the public art exhibition "Coexistence" opens this May 1, the public will be confronted with gigantic images meant to convey the most benevolent ideas: equality, fellowship, getting along with one another. Thirty-eight 9 by 15 foot images will turn the Hennepin County Government Center North Plaza, and then Rice Park in St. Paul, into outdoor forums for discussion about why we do or don't get along with each other.

Presented by the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) of the University of Minnesota, "Coexistence" was created by Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem as a way to address issues about tolerance and equality, and as a way to encourage people to think about "the other" in their communities. A call was made to artists to submit poster designs for the exhibition, and a distinguished international jury selected work by 42 artists from 19 countries. Each poster is accompanied by a quotation from many of history's leading humanists and thinkers, from the Dalai Lama to Thomas Jefferson, Toni Morrison to Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin to John Lennon.

Since its Jerusalem debut in 2001, "Coexistence" has traveled throughout Europe and to Capetown, South Africa. It is currently showing across Florida. Its Florida run has been marred by a case of extreme vandalism, when every poster of the exhibition was either slashed or painted with racial epithets prior to its grand opening celebration in St. Petersburg. Event organizers decided to leave the exhibition as it was (although covering the epithets) as a statement about why the exhibition was needed in the first place.

Stephen Feinstein, director of CLA's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, is the driving force behind the "Coexistence" appearance in the Twin Cities, and cites numerous reasons why this is a suitable time for the exhibit to be shown here. "The issue of Coexistence relates to the issue of what constitutes a civil society and how one maintains it. In Europe the issue is called "globalization," with many nations now asking "who is a Frenchman," "who is a Swede" and so forth after witnessing waves of new immigrants from the Muslim world, Asia and Africa. The Twin Cities is undergoing the same changes as Europe. It is no longer white bread America. Around the state of Minnesota and in various cities, studies have shown that there is a very high level of intolerance and racism."

The "Coexistence" exhibition will be accompanied by a large number of related activities, sponsored by CLA academic centers (Center for German and European Studies, Institute for Global Studies, Department of History, and more) and community members (City of Minneapolis, City of St. Paul, YWCA of Minneapolis). Activities include the Borderlands film festival, showing films of Turkey, Armenia and Greece at the U Film Society; a conference on the 10-year anniversary of the Rwanda genocide; an art contest by local children; and a youth dialogue on race. A complete list of related events is on a separate page.

"Coexistence" is supported through grants from Allianz Life Insurance Company, the Regis Foundation, The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation, Mark and Muriel Wexler Endowment Fund, and Leonard, Street and Deinard.


Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota © 2004