Melbourne-based visual artist Nina Sanadze launched her thought-provoking installation Call to Peace on March 27. It will be located on the corner of Clarendon and Conventry Streets in South Melbourne for three to six months.
The installation was launched with free outdoor performances by local choirs. For Sanadze this represented an important reclaiming of public space since the COVID-19 pandemic, and was the first performance by the choirs in Melbourne’s streets since March, 2020.
Ribbons and markers were provided so that visitors to the installation could attach pro-peace or anti-war messages to scaffolding surrounding the sculpture. The interactive, performative and open nature of this installation is also intended to create spaces for open dialogue and discussion about contemporary political situations for the community — which, according to Sanadze, is “something we seem to be needing”.
The installation is a re-envisioning of a Soviet post-World War II monument of the same name and features a woman with open arms calling for peace after having returned from the battlefield.
In an interview with Green Left Radio, Sanadze, who was born in Georgia (previously part of the USSR), said she takes inspiration from her own experiences and connects contemporary socio-political and economic developments with pertinent major historical events when producing her artistic works.
Although Sanadze initially intended for her work to respond to growing polarisation in society, the unjustified war carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine gave the installation new meaning and greater artistic and political impetus.
Sanadze told GL Radio her installation represents a “grassroots monument” and a way to rethink and reclaim public spaces for the community. “I just hope this war will help us to be together. In our society we are so removed from it (the Ukraine crisis) but we have our own struggles with peace as well. We need a place of peace and support.”
The installation is open between 4–6pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Sanadze encourages artists from all streams to sign up to perform at the installation on a DIY roster available on calltopeace.net and welcomes everyone to participate in writing their wishes for peace and a world without unwarranted wars.