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Davis Peace Project combines art and activism at Wellesley College
Charming: A Davis Peace Project installation by artist Kathryn Sjursen.

WELLESLEY, MASS.- The Davis Peace Project honors the life-long commitment of Wellesley College graduate Kathryn Wasserman Davis ’28 to world peace, justice, and art. Two installations on view at the Davis Museum this spring and summer—a 20x20 foot banner featuring The Davis Peace Dove designed by Jenny Schmid, and Charming, by Kathryn Sjursen— celebrate the museum namesake’s spirit, tenacity, and dedication to change.

According to Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis, “The Davis Peace Dove, designed by Minneapolis-based printmaker Jenny Schmid, updates ancient symbols with contemporary graphic flair. Bold and brightly colored, the Davis Peace Dove will beckon from the exterior wall of the museum. And, inside the museum’s lobby, Charming, an installation created by New York-based artist Kathryn Sjursen, organizes origami hummingbirds into a luminous testament to the cumulative promise of small gestures and individual actions.”

The davis Peace DOVE
The Davis commissioned printmaker Jenny Schmid to design a stylized peace dove with an olive branch that will be reproduced first on a colorful oversized — 20x20 foot— banner for installation on the north-facing exterior wall of the Davis Museum. The olive branch is an ancient symbol of peace, and the dove’s iconography dates to early Christianity. The symbol still resonates in the modern world, with the graphic version created by Pablo Picasso in 1949 being the most universally recognized symbol of peace and peace activism.

Charming, A Davis Peace Project Installation

Realized through the sculptural form of origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, artist Kathryn Sjursen’s installation Charming suggests the transformational power of small gestures towards change and healing. This spring, Sjursen led an origami workshop with Wellesley students in learning how to fold the elegant hummingbirds. Not only did they learn, but they will pass it on: they will teach friends and family, so that we can, little by little, share the power of transformation in small steps.

The Davis Hummingbirds invite the community to celebrate peace and to pass it on. A potent symbol across cultures and epochs, the dazzling little hummingbird epitomizes surprising strength, energy, and determination. The luminous “charm” of hummingbirds—delightful, magical, and possessed of power belied by their size—suggests the transformational promise of small gestures and individual actions to effect larger collective change.

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Davis Peace Project combines art and activism at Wellesley College

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