At age 34, Shoshana
Guggenheim is a creative and introspective woman who expresses her thoughts
about women’s roles, peace and communication through art. A warm person,
Guggenheim is a great conversationalist.
Using her art and enabling others to express themselves through art Guggenheim
is “very interested in the process of communication, allowing art to be
a transformative experience.”
The project, which is the first of Peace-By-Piece, a non-profit
The quilt represents a project
As a community artist Guggenheim’s latest undertaking is a peace quilt,
which should serve as a “visual inspiration and cross-cultural dialogue.”
Guggenheim aims to use art as a means for dialogue, letting the quilt be a
central part of the programming.
that is being put together by many people in many pieces, yet creating
a single piece of artwork. Metaphorically, the quilt and people are working
together and creating a unified peaceful world. Guggenheim hopes that quilt
panels will be made by people from all over the world making the Peace Quilt
an international call for a common language and peace.
As the quilt is a living work, Guggenheim doesn’t know when the project
will if ever end, or if it will simply continue to evolve. Although not a
quilt maker herself, Guggenheim decided that a quilt was the right kind of
project to bring people together and could serve as a means towards building
people in the region. The quilting process enables a person and then a
community to create something from nothing.
Guggenheim feels that her life’s work needs to be for social change. “I
need to be involved in social change using the gifts that I have been given,”
she says. “I have a lot of political feelings about what is happening here
(in Israel). Zionism today is about urban multiculturalism and interfaith
living. This is my way of finding a home for myself and other in this country.”
Quilt panels are 170 cm x 85 cm, approximately the size of an adult, representing
a person who was killed in the Intifada. The quilt is in memory of the lives
lost in the current Intifada.
A teacher is in Jerusalem’s Beit Sefer
Du Lishoni, where Arab and Jewish children learn together, Guggenheim
says the school is a gift as “the kids are not just involved in dialogue
– they are friends.”
“The project is unfolding in a beautiful way,” says Guggenheim. To encourage
participation, Guggenheim initiates workshops to make quilt panels
with such schools and organizations as the Beit Sefer Du Lishoni, Pardes
Institute, Shvil Hazahav, Dorot, Israel Palestinian Bereaved Families for
Peace, Dorot and Seeds of Peace.
“As an artist when I sit down and spend weeks working on something I emerge
a different person,” says Guggenheim. “When a group begins a project together
something else beyond the physical project is created. Together the group
goes through a process and together they begin to support each other.”
Hopefully the peace quilt will bring about the cooperation and communication
that so many women who quilt in groups experience. When the project sufficiently
expresses the magnitude of hope for peace, it will become a portable exhibit.