Several hundred of Sri Chinmoy’s Paintings for World Peace and Harmony were on exhibit from 6 to 16 June 2017 at the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva. The exhibit was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in Geneva, with support from the Cultural Diplomacy and Outreach Section of the UN Office at Geneva, in collaboration with the Jharna-Kala Art Foundation.
At the opening event on 6 June, H.E. Ambassador Shameem Ahsan, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh in Geneva, welcomed guests from the UN community and said that
“In today’s conflict-ridden world, Bangladesh remains committed to and vocal for global peace and harmony”, and thus “deeply values the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, a son of the soil.” Noting that Sri Chinmoy taught that “by sharing goodwill and inspiration with others, and by spreading love and care, the world can be transformed and peace can be achieved,” Ambassador Ahsan said that Sri Chinmoy’s “paintings and music reflect his spiritual journey for the peace and well-being of humanity.”
Sri Chinmoy was born in 1931 near Chittagong in what is now Bangladesh, spent his young adulthood in Pondicherry, South India, and, following an inner message, emigrated to New York in 1964 to share his philosophy of peace.
Ranjana K. Ghose, Director of the Jharna-Kala Art Foundation, noted that Sri Chinmoy’s Paintings for World Peace and Harmony began their journey at an exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York ten years ago. She said,
“To have the art now exhibited here at the United Nations Office in Geneva is surely profoundly significant and fulfilling.”
For the full text of the remarks: About the exhibit by Ranjana K. Ghose, Jharna-Kala Art Foundation
At the invitation of then UN Secretary-General U Thant, Sri Chinmoy led twice-weekly peace meditations at the United Nations from 1970 until his passing in 2007, as well as holding many cultural programmes there in support of peace, which continue to this day.
The exhibit in Geneva was comprised of several distinct genres of paintings, including the many Peace-Bird drawings of Sri Chinmoy that were originally exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, in 2006, and a series of 9”x12” acrylic paintings with a message for humanity that were first shown at an exhibition at St. Petersburg State University, Russia by the Diaghilev Center of Art at the Smolny Institute, in 2004. She noted that through the Paintings for World Peace and Harmony, Sri Chinmoy had offered his art in as many different public spaces as possible so that its messages might be shared with people all over the world, from all walks of life.
Tegla Loroupe, Kenyan long-distance running champion, UN Ambassador of Sport and promoter of the first Refugee Olympic Team in 2016, also spoke at the opening of the exhibit in Geneva, recalling how Sri Chinmoy had inspired her to work for peace. The event was moderated by Francesco Pisano, Chief of the Cultural Diplomacy and Outreach Section in Geneva. As Head of the UN Library there, he accepted a gift of a newly published book, Songs of Peace, collecting a number of songs that Sri Chinmoy had composed in dedication to the United Nations, as well as selections from his writings about the world body. Several of Sri Chinmoy’s compositions of music for peace were performed at the Geneva event, enhancing the peaceful atmosphere.
At the time of the 2007 exhibit of Paintings for World Peace and Harmony at UN Headquarters in New York, a number of world leaders and diplomats had expressed their support. Nelson Mandela commented,
“Within each of us lies the power to build a world where we respect each other’s beliefs, understand each other’s culture and support each other’s values — a world where hatred, pain and suffering have no place. This is the great cause of world peace to which my dear friend Sri Chinmoy devoted his life and to which his Paintings for World Harmony at the United Nations are dedicated.”
Mikhail Gorbachev commented that
“Sri Chinmoy was a zealous supporter of the United Nations. He tried to inspire people who work in this worldwide organization. Therefore, it is remarkable that this gallery is taking place especially at the UN.”