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Deccan Herald Metro Life Section
Saturday June 4, 2005
Article by Dipti Nair
Photograph by Diane Gayer
Sally Linder, a US artist, brings hope and message of peace to the
City on World Environment Day through her Ark of Hope, a refuge for the
It is called the Ark of Hope and was ironically unveiled in Vermont,
US, two days before the 9/11 bombing. The creator Sally Linder, a
contemporary American visual artist, says she realised it then how
important it was to take her art to people across the world to spread
the message of peace.
The Ark of Hope, a 49" x 32" x 32" wooden chest with intricate
paintings of symbols from across the world, was created as a place of
refuge for the Earth Charter document, an international people’s treaty
for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the
Sally’s immediate and spontaneous response to the 9/11 horror was to
begin walking the Ark of Hope to New York and the United Nations.
Hundreds of walkers joined the “pilgrimage” bringing with them hope and
the vision of the Earth Charter to communities along the way.
In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and
Development had issued a call for creation of a new charter that would
set forth fundamental principles for sustainable development.
The drafting of an Earth Charter was part of the unfinished business
of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The final version was approved in 2000 at
the UNESCO headquarters, Paris.
Messenger of Peace
Says Sally, “As an artist, I felt I had to spell out the words of
charter visually.” The result is an exquisite piece of art in the form
of a chest, which interestingly travels around the world collecting
“letters” (called Temenos Books) of peace, prayers, healing and
gratitude. To date, it has collected about 10,000 messages from people
across the world. Sally, who is in Bangalore as a speaker at the
International Women’s Conference organised by the International
Association for Human Values, is disappointed that she could not bring
the Ark of Hope to India.
“Customs hassles was a huge contributor,” she says, adding that it
now in Netherlands - a region which will be most affected by the ever
warming of the globe. When not travelling, the Ark is exhibited at the
Interfaith Centre in New York.
Over 600 handcrafted 8" x 8" x 2" books have been made by artists,
schoolchildren and citizens around the world to hold messages
their individual and collaborative prayers and affirmations for the
Adds Sally, who is in India for the first time, “The Earth Charter’s
16 principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global
society are the guiding vision behind the creation of these books.”
The Ark, crafted from a single plank of sycamore maple from a
sustainable forest in Germany, has five painted panels that form the
sides and top of the Ark each representing the flora and fauna of the
world as seen through the images of the world’s traditional artists.
Each panel visualises a season, a direction, an element and a
universal symbol. Symbols of faith from traditional religions and
indigenous societies surround the top panel of ‘Spirit’ that honours
children and young animals of the world. The 96" carrying poles are
unicorn horns which render evil ineffective.
Inside the Ark’s lid is the Earth Charter handwritten on papyrus
“At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in
South Africa, the Ark was ceremoniously offered to the world by 22
S. African children of Diepsloot, a squatters settlement in
Johannesburg,” says Sally, illustrating her vision of one earth. “Its
(the Ark) life grows when it is shared,” she adds.