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Art Contest Winners Announced

War and its imprint on society and on individuals has been a frequent subject for artists across the centuries and has both reflected and shaped perspectives on war.  Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” Tom Lea’s “Thousand Yard Stare,” and Salvador Dali’s  “The Face of War” are but a few examples.  Advancements in technology have also encouraged the creative impulse in photography and graphic design. Matthew Brady captured the violence and brutality of the American Civil War.  Eddie Adams, Nik Ut, and Joe Galloway humanized the war in Vietnam, and hundreds of professional and amateur photographers have personalized the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and dozens of other locations. Poster art has certainly propagandized war aims and rallied populations to war; at the same time, poster art has become a common medium for peace activists. Indeed, implicit in most “war art” is the message of peace. 


In Spring 2013 the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies sponsored an art contest for students on the topic “Peace, War, and Art: The Power of Persuasion.”  The contest was open to all students. Through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, graphic design or other art form, student entrants were to address the personal imprint of war on the individual and, in so doing, explicitly or implicitly convey the message of peace.

 Erica Burkett submitted a graphic design titled “War is the Never Ending Fight for Peace.”  “The idea behind this piece is simple,” said Erica.  “People will always fight for what they believe in, and as long as people have different opinions about what they believe is best, there will always be war. I wanted to create a design that is just as simple and straight forward as [this] statement.”  Her “depiction of our Earth as a round continuum of people fighting a never ending war” earned Erica the First Place award of $250.

Cody Unkart's submission, “Untitled Print, 2013,”  “questions . . . the domination of giant corporations (Wal-Mart in particular) and the consequential extermination of small businesses, which allegorizes the fascist reign of Germany during World War II,” said Cody.  Cody typically works in stabile pencil and intaglio ink which results in a “strong sense of depth, gradation and texture” and routinely exposes the harmful imprint of “mass production and media, over-consumption, corporate imperialism and social inequality.”  Cody’s entry earned Second Place and a cash award of $150.

Michael Slater took Third Place and an award of $75 for his entry titled “Greed.”  Greed” is a painted collage that “is meant to be a representation of those who profit the most from wars over those who suffer the most.  War is a failure of humanity, and I find it disappointing that educated and powerful men still use war to solve problems,” said Michael.  Featured prominently in Michael’s work are representations of organized religion.


Congratulations to Erica, Cody, and Michael.


War is the Never Ending Fight for Peace


Untitled Print 2013

"The tragedy of war is that it uses man's  best to do man's worst."
-- Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick