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Karma chameleon

‘A Sense of Place’ at the Peabody Essex Museum, a guided tour of the ‘MFA Thesis Exhibition’ at Tufts, and the last Mad Dash at Green Street
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  December 12, 2006

SEVEN CONTINENTS: Betsy Sterling Benjamin, Millennium Kesa North America (detail)
“Kesa” is the term for the traditional, oblong prayer robes worn by Buddhist monks in Japan — and this spiritually rich garment is the subject of Betsy Sterling Benjamin’s “A SENSE OF PLACE, AN ARTIST’S TRIBUTE TO THE SEVEN CONTINENTS,” which opens at the Peabody Essex Museum on December 16. The show features seven contemporary silk kesa, each representing one of our planet’s seven continents, with interlocking images of natural and cultural elements particular to each place, from the deep reds and golds of the African landscape to shades of quiet gray and blue representing an Asian elephant on a stroll. Benjamin spent 18 years in Japan immersing herself in Japanese tradition and culture as well as mastering the ancient wax-resist dyeing technique known as rozome that she uses here. She created this body of work for a Millennial Peace Meditation that was held simultaneously on the seven continents on January 1, 2000. As the 21st century first saw light, her seven colorful, symbolic kesa were donned in ceremonies of healing and peace around the world, one each in Africa (Zimbabwe), Antarctica, Australia, Asia (Japan), Europe (Spain), North America (US), and South America (Machu Picchu, Peru). The works will be on exhibit at the Peabody Essex through June 3.

Actual, edible lettuce is growing in the Tufts University Art Gallery’s Aidekman Arts Center as part of the “MFA THESIS EXHIBITION” of work by seven artists in the joint graduate degree program of Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The lettuce is the centerpiece of a sculptural installation by Leah Gauthier; her work is joined by Rebecca Heyl’s mixed-media scrutiny of the rising number of deaths due to the Iraq war, a Julie Lohnes video installation that encourages viewers to play with pink polystyrene “guns,” Inki Min’s personalized landscapes (accented by teddy bears), and work by Jia-Jen Lin, Natacha Villamia Sochat, and Laura Stewart. A guided tour of the exhibition, “Voice Your Vision!”, takes place on December 16 at 2:30 pm. Note also that Cristi Rinklin’s colorful mural installation “Nuvolomondo,” on view on the walls and in the windows of the Gallery’s Harry Remis Sculpture Court, has been extended through May 2007.

And don’t miss your very last chance to participate in a Green Street Gallery MAD DASH 150 X 150! On December 16, at 5 pm, in what has become a beloved and bruising tradition, 150 valuable works of art will be sold for just $150 each to whoever can grab them first. After this event, and after nine years of terrific programming and tireless dedication to the Boston art community, Green Street director James Hull will pass the curatorial baton to Axiom Gallery, which takes over the space in January.

“A SENSE OF PLACE” at Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, Salem | December 16–June 3 | 5866.745.1876 | “VOICE YOUR VISION!” Gallery Tour of “MFA Thesis Exhibition” at Tufts University Art Gallery, 40R Talbot Ave, Medford | exhibition on view through December 17; tour December 16 at 2:30 pm | 617.627.3518 | "FINAL MAD DASH” at Green Street Gallery, 141 Green Street, Jamaica Plain | December 16: 2-4:30 pm (viewing); 5 pm (dash) | 617.522.0000

On the Web
Peabody Essex Museum: //
Tufts University Art Gallery: /
Green Street Gallery: //


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