Lanterns for Peace at FIGMENT NYC 2017


Composed of 250 homemade lanterns lit with LED tea-lights suspended from the ceiling, Lanterns for Peace is a post-election community response installation that invites public participation. I am thrilled to announce that the project has just received a grant from Puffin Foundation West! You can learn more about it here: http://puffinwest.org/category/2017-grant-awardees/

On November 9th, 2016, in the midst of experiencing a crushing post-election sense of grief and while listening to Democracy Now, Maffia got the idea to ask everyone she knows the question: “what do we do now?” and record their answers. Reaching out to and connecting with friends, family, and community in the immediate aftermath of the election was strengthening. One friend shared a German children’s song with her inspiring the birth of the project:

“Lantern, lantern stay alive. It’s dark outside but my light keeps shining.”

“The idea for Lanterns for Peace struck like lightening on November 9th, 2016, one day after the election when millions of people began a period of mourning” said Maffia. “There was a nation-wide sense of defeat and depression. Like so many others, I am devastated that such an overtly racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, predatory man was supported by so many millions of people in this country. I am deeply afraid for the physical and emotional safety of people of color, Muslims and other religious minorities, First Nations peoples, Mexicans, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, refugees, women, and so many more who have always been subject to discrimination in the US, but who now face the even more extreme consequences of the conspicuous sanctioning of violence of the president-elect. I decided to channel these fears into a project of hope, solidarity, and resistance. The need to fight against the on-coming assault on civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, religious freedom, etc. is URGENT and CRITICAL. I intend Lanterns for Peace to serve as a space to express the rage, fear, panic, sadness, determination to fight, etc. that people are feeling by both reflecting our collective mourning in the form of a vigil and simultaneously serving as a beacon of light and hope in this terrifying political climate.”

Maffia wrote 150 people’s responses to the question “what do we do now” on one lantern each. She hung 100 blank lanterns and invites the public to share their thoughts on them with hanging markers suspended throughout the gallery.

Lanterns for Peace was exhibited in November 2016 in Taos, New Mexico at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, where Maffia was artist in resident for three months, and at the Taos town plaza. During the Presidential inauguration, she exhibited the lanterns at 3-Squared Gallery in Chelsea, NY. During President's week, the lanterns were installed at Five Myles Gallery in Crown Heights, BK and next they will be installed at FIGMENT NY, a weekend of interactive art on Governor's Island.

Below are links to some articles written about the installation:

http://patch.com/new-york/prospectheights/new-crown-heights-art-installation-150-lanterns-response-president-trump

http://us.blastingnews.com/lifestyle/2017/02/artist-jessica-maffia-unveils-lantern-installation-in-crown-heights-nyc-001485723.html

http://www.taosnews.com/entertainment/artist-mounts-lanterns-installation-on-taos-plaza/article_b7dd0f96-b324-11e6-8964-d34db92aed1a.html

http://livetaos.com/slideshow/jessica-maffia-sheds-light-time-uncertainty/