The cornerstone of the CoExistence Festival, now through Sunday, May 20, in New Brunswick, is the world-renowned traveling outdoor exhibit created by the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem, “Exhibition Coexistence.” This installation, according to a press statement, “brings the universal message of diversity and acceptance of the other to the world community” through billboard-sized murals created by artists from around the world that provide striking visual images of the need for greater tolerance. Exhibition Coexistence has traveled to major cities around the world including, London, Berlin, Paris, Cape Town, San Paolo, and Washington, D.C. The panels will be located throughout downtown New Brunswick and on the Rutgers campus for the duration of the festival.
As the host city, New Brunswick was invited to contribute an additional panel to Exhibition Coexistence. An internationally juried competition was held to select the newest panel for this exhibit. The submission by David Magyar, inspired by the events of September 11, was selected as the winner of the Georg von Holtzbrinck Coexistence Award for best representing the theme of the competition: “Creating dialogue across boundaries.” Holtzbrinck was the original funder of the exhibition.
In announcing the winner, Raphie Etgar, exhibition curator and founder of the Museum on the Seam, noted “Magyar’s work makes a particular documentary contribution to the exhibition by touching on a specific event that brings another mode of expression to the exhibition. From the exhibition’s point of view, the message that one can read out of the image is unity emerged out of tragedy. This image is the essence of what the American people expressed so strongly to themselves and to the world on this terrible day. This was ‘coexistence’ at its best.” Magyar will also receive a $1,000 prize and his submission will become part of the permanent exhibition.
Magyar, who was officially recognized for his winning entry at the festival’s opening ceremony on Saturday, April 28, at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum on Rutgers main campus, attended Montclair State University, where he received a BA in fine arts and certification in art education. There, his interest in photography began to bud.
The image he chose for this project came from a series of photographs taken shortly after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. Magyar reflected on this day and his piece, saying, “I wondered what was next if we could not, somehow, learn to live together; understand each other’s needs; accept each other’s differences. As the vividness of the event that played out before the entire world fades from our collective memories, I hoped that this image would help renew similar thoughts and feelings in all that view it so we might better consider our path to a peaceful coexistence.”
The Co-Existence Festival continues with live musical performances including the Indigo Girls in an acoustic show, and Richie Havens, on Saturday, May 5, as well as “Hemisphere,” a two-week celebration of world dance and music events at the Zimmerli Museum. “Exhibition: CoExistence” is installed on the Old Queens and Voorhees Mall area of Rutgers University. In addition, several artworks appear on the George Street side of Johnson & Johnson as well as the lawn of the Hyatt Hotel.
CoExistence Festival, through Sunday, May 20, New Brunswick. For more information and full schedule of events, exhibits, and performances, visit www.coexistencefestival.org.