Robert L. Peters

10 December 2018

Today is Human Rights Day… and also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mandela-Human-Rights-Day

Paris, France

70 years ago today, on 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. The date of 10 December was established as Human Rights Day in 1950, and has been commemorated annually around the world on this date ever since.

These days, the advancement and promotion of worldwide human rights are confronted by growing nationalism, a widespread misinformation epidemic, and the ascendency of identity politics which draw strength from ethnic or religious conflict. All the more reason to celebrate (and disseminate) comprehensive statements of inalienable human rights, I say!

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a call to freedom and justice for people throughout the world. Many consider the Declaration to be the most important document ever written, essentially “the international Magna Carta of all mankind.” As such, it has also become the most translated document in the world.

Do you know your human rights? Read the full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, or download a PDF of the text in English here. Watch an excellent type-and-graphic rendering of the Declaration on Vimeo here.


30 November 2018

No Man is an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

—John Donne (1572–1631), Meditation XVII

In 1972, I was valedictorian of my graduating high school class at Black Forest Academy. I recited this poem by John Donne as the core of my address. I still feel the piece expresses deep empathy and humanity, welcome traits in a world that seems to skew increasingly isolationist and echoes with ever-louder, exclusionary nationalism. The ‘Brexit‘ issue in particular has (almost daily) put Donne’s wise words “back on my radar”…


27 November 2018

All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.


24 November 2018

Some positive change, in Canada…

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Wanda_sister_to_Viola

Winnipeg, Canada

At a ceremony held on 19 November at The Canadian Museum for Human Rights here in Winnipeg, Canada’s new $10 banknote was launched into circulation. The face side of the note features civil rights activist Viola Desmond, first Canadian woman to be profiled on a regularly circulating banknote, with the The Canadian Museum for Human Rights on the other.

The first vertically oriented banknote in Canada, the design includes an artistic rendering of Halifax’s north end and waterfront, where Viola Desmond lived and owned a beauty salon; also depicted is an eagle feather, which the Bank of Canada says represents the ongoing journey toward recognizing rights and freedoms for Indigenous people.

On Nov. 8, 1946, Desmond took in a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow while her car was getting fixed. When she refused to leave the whites-only section on the main level of the theatre, Desmond, 32, was dragged out by police and jailed. Black people were only allowed to sit in the balcony of the theatre. Her defiance shone a light on the civil rights movement and helped motivate the struggle against racial segregation in Canada.

Segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia in 1954, in part because of the publicity generated by Desmond’s case. She is often described as Canada’s Rosa Parks, even though Desmond’s act of defiance happened nine years before Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Read more in a CBC news report here. Read an in-depth primer article by The Globe and Mail here. Watch a Heritage Minute (video) about Ms. Desmond here.

Images above: The new vertical Canadian $10 bill that goes into circulation in the next month; Viola Desmond’s sister Wanda Robson with the new bill (at the launch ceremony in Winnipeg).

Image below: The old/outgoing $10 bill featuring Canada’s first prime minister and “founding father,” John A. Macdonald, along with a western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — I’m happy to see the end of Macdonald in my wallet (he’s now widely seen as responsible for horrific genocide of Indigenous People in this country) — though I did quite like the large fish hawk.

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19 November 2018

Pay us to kill you…

pay_us

 

Thanks to David Peters (and his friend David Asari)… “Dan Covert is the designer of the anti-smoking poster. He did this when he was a student at California College of the Arts for his Graphic Design 1 course taught by Mark Fox. Impressive work for a GD1 student.”


17 November 2018

Joni Mitchell at 75… Happy Birthday!

Joni_Mitchell_75

Los Angeles, California

“On an early November day in 1966, a tall, thin, Nordic-Celtic vision in a minidress and clunky heels, hunched over the microphone at the Second Fret coffeehouse in Philadelphia, and against her then-husband’s wishes, she sang the songs she was beginning to write in great creative gusts. It was the moment that Joni Mitchell — a wounded, determined runaway from a complicated childhood in the Canadian prairies and soon enough from an unhappy marriage — became a star.”

The news media (around the world) have been abuzz in the past weeks with praise for and tributes to the one and only Joni Mitchell, who turned 75 last week. The inimitable artist has been mostly “lying low” lately, recovering from a brain aneurysm suffered in 2015, though she has made a few public appearances. In early November, a two-night gala benefit for LA’s flagship performing arts destination, the Music Center, “was crafted by loving hands to make a space for Mitchell to inhabit, likely in silence, and hear her voice come alive through her friends and acolytes.” Read more here, herehere, or here. 

Our design team at Circle was delighted to have the opportunity (in 2007) to design a stamp commemorating the song-writing and musical legacy of Joni Mitchell — one in a set of four stamps also celebrating Canadian musical artists Gordon Lightfoot (who turned 80 today!), Anne Murray, and Paul Anka. For Joni’s stamp, we were able to obtain usage rights for a beautiful photo by New York photographer Gregory Heisler/Cpi.

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14 November 2018

NO!

Gary_Taxali_NO

In heartening news, this just in…

Friend Gary Taxali shares: “I just got a phonecall and I am very excited to announce my artwork, “NO” won a Gold Medal at the Society of Illustrators in NYC! Thank you to the judges for this very special honour. Especially for recognizing this image because it speaks to the amount of hate that’s growing in the world.”


9 November 2018

A cautionary tale… featuring Jack Frost.

Jack_Frost

Somewhere in wintery Russia…

Once upon a time, there was a woman who had both a daughter of her own, whom she loved, as well as a step-daughter, whom she hated. One day, the woman ordered her husband to take her stepdaughter out into the winter fields and leave her there to die, and he obeys her. Morozko (aka Jack Frost) finds her there; she is polite and kind to him, so he gives her a chest full of beautiful things and fine garments. After a while, the stepmother sends her father to bring back the girl’s body to be buried, which he also obeys. After a while, the barking family dog imparts that the girl is coming back, and that she is beautiful and happy.

When the stepmother sees what her stepdaughter has brought back, she orders her husband to take her own daughter out into the fields. Unlike before, this child is rude to Morozko, and he freezes her to death. When the husband goes out to bring her back, the family dog forewarns that the child will be buried. When the father brings back the body, the old woman weeps.

(In the Grimm version of this fairy tale, the girl is coated with gold and sliver coins while the rude child is coated with cement, mud, flour and pitch).

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin


7 November 2018

There is a crack in everything…

leonardcohen

Montreal, Canada

It’s two years ago today since poet/troubadour Leonard Cohen moved on into the next dimension. I came across this insightful tribute by Maria Popova online (with thanks to Brenda Sanderson for the link)…

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There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions

A generous reminder that we must aim for “a revelation in the heart rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.”

Trained as a poet and ordained as a Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934–November 7, 2016) is our patron saint of sorrow and redemption. He wrote songs partway between philosophy and prayer — songs radiating the kind of prayerfulness which Simone Weil celebrated as “the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

One of his most beloved lyric lines, from the song “Anthem” — a song that took Cohen a decade to write — remains what is perhaps the most meaningful message for our troubled and troubling times: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” It springs from a central concern of Cohen’s life and work, one which he revisited in various guises across various songs — including in “Suzanne,” where he writes “look among the garbage and the flowers / there are heroes in the seaweed,” and in the iconic “Hallelujah”: “There’s a blaze of light / In every word / It doesn’t matter which you heard / The holy or the broken Hallelujah”.

Read the whole post on Brain Pickings


26 October 2018

Sculpting, sculpting…

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Carrot_and_Ginger_-Evelin_Richter

Believe.-Evelin_Richter

third_time_lucky-evelin_richter

Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

My partner Evelin recently took a year’s sabbatical from making sculpture, but says “It’s gratifying to know that there’s still ‘an appetite’ for my work.” Four of her figurative pieces have sold in the past few months — some through the Pulse Gallery (at The Forks, Winnipeg), and some directly to collectors who contacted her through her studio. She’s now back in the atelier sculpting away… timely, as the autumn seems to be turning less favourable for “playing outside.”

Sculptures recently sold: ‘Deep Within (which went to Paris); ‘Carrot & Ginger‘; ‘Believe,’ my homage to aviator Amelia Earhart; and ‘Third Time Lucky,’ the metaphoric piece depicting a stressed, myopic lifeguard.


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