GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A "War And Peace Art Exhibit" on Maui has been attracting hundreds of people. Organizer Michelle Sewell stands next to her husband Tom's work, which transforms the faces of America's war dead in Iraq into the American flag.
Peace exhibit is big draw
A Maui gallery is featuring anti-war art and performances
MAKAWAO » It's the closest to what some people in the 1960s used to call a "happening."
More than 100 artists and writers have contributed their work toward a "War and Peace Art Exhibit" this month at a gallery in Makawao, where events at night have included a poetry slam, body painting, a rock concert and a mock play, "Miss World Domination."
The exhibit at 1134 Makawao Ave. includes a signed poem titled "Ogres" by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin and several prints about the war in Iraq by nationally known artist Sandow Birk.
The exhibit, which closes Saturday, attracted more than 500 people on opening night and has had crowds in excess of 150 people on several other nights.
Discussions are taking place with galleries in California, Oregon and Arizona to turn some of the exhibit into a traveling show, organizers said.
Some works are about peace in general, while many are critical of the Iraq war and at least one calls Iraq war resister 1st Lt. Ehren Watada a "hero."
An art piece that has drawn attention from the crowds is "I can no longer remain silent" by artist Tom Sewell.
Sewell has scanned the faces of more than 3,000 American soldiers who have died in Iraq into the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.
Sewell was trying to find a place to exhibit his art piece and works about war and peace by other artists, when the space became available for rents at a very reasonable price, said his wife, Michelle.
Michelle Sewell said much of the art on exhibit isn't directed toward being sold at galleries and is intended to encourage discussion.
"It's not something commercial. It's just something we wanted to exhibit. This has to be seen," she said. "It's really nice to have interaction."
When Tom Sewell began on his work, he put some 3,200 faces of deceased American soldiers into the flag, and the piece quickly became outdated with the number of dead now more than 3,555, she said.
One of the smaller adjoining rooms houses artwork by children, who created peace flags during the Dalai Lama's recent visit, and also artwork done in the gallery by youths with the Boys and Girls Club of Maui.
She said a number of people who were associated with the civil rights and peace movement have commented that the event reminded them of the 1960s.
"They got a charge out of that," she said.
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The "War And Peace Art Exhibit" on Maui closes this week with events on the last two days:
Artist Pat Masumoto performs as part of the punk rock band Sing Sing Laugh Laugh at 7 p.m., followed by a presentation by the Maui Live Poets Society.
A "War And Peace Art Exhibit" fundraiser takes place at the nearby Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli at 9:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover per person.
Artist Sandow Birk will discuss his recent block print works about the war in Iraq starting 7 p.m., followed by "The Roast of George Bush," presented by comedian Michael Pulliam of the Beverly Hills Friars Club.