In collaboration with Orange Barrel Media, For Freedoms, the artist-led organization that centers art as a catalyst for creative civic engagement, discourse and direct action, today announces its latest campaign, The Highest Form of Wisdom is Kindness.
Prompted as a rebuttal to alarming rates of violence and hate speech directed toward Jewish people in the USA, For Freedoms presents a nation-wide campaign of artist-designed billboards that express solidarity and to stand with its beloved Jewish siblings.
Orange Barrel Media, a national outdoor media company committed to enriching communities through the production and presentation of diverse public art, is donating screen time for the campaign on their digital signage and IKE kiosks.
“Using our media platform to expand the reach of transformative art and cultural content in public spaces is at the core of our mission,” said OBM CEO Pete Scantland. “We’re proud to showcase this powerful campaign to help amplify important messages of kindness, acceptance, and solidarity.”
For Freedoms has engaged a community of diverse artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Joel Mesler, Ruvan Wijesooriya, Wyatt Gallery, Hank Willis Thomas, Deborah Kass, Zoe Buckman, Doron Langberg, Eric Gottesman, Cara Levine, Eve-Lauryn LaFountain, and Tanya Habjouqa to create a public artwork that will spark important and necessary conversations about antisemitism across the country.
The billboards will be on view in major cities across the country starting on September 5, timed to the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar. “We believe that the past is present and that critical thinking is vital in undoing vast social prejudices like antisemitism,” said Carly Fischer at For Freedoms. “When we deny our history, we are destined to repeat it. The Highest Form of Wisdom is Kindness invites artists to create work that channels an aspiration toward a world without antisemitism. We want to inspire freedom of worship and foster a place where people of all faiths are free, decolonized, and safe.”
The title of the campaign, The Highest Form of Wisdom is Kindness, is attributed to The Talmud, the primary text of Jewish theology. Jewish study, much like art, prioritizes asking big questions over claiming to have answers. Similarly, the goal of The Highest Form of Wisdom is Kindness is to shed light on some of those broad questions while creating space for thoughtful conversation and mindfulness in our intentions, thoughts, speech, and actions. The campaign emphasizes the importance of writing, teaching, engaging in and celebrating multi-dimensional histories and experiences to build multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-religious coalitions of advocacy and mutual aid in the present and future.
The works will be on view as outdoor digital media across Los Angeles, CA, San Antonio, TX, Boston, MA, Miami, FL, Columbus, OH, Washington DC, Atlanta, GA and St. Louis, MO during the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (September 15 – 17) and Yom Kippur (September 24 – 25).
Image : Joel Mesler, Untitled (Meshuggeneh), 2022
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