The Japanese Parasol

In 1985, my sister Jeanne was a working calligrapher in Washington, DC. She mostly made her living preparing formal documents and certificates for the various agencies and departments of our nation’s capital. She had her own art studio in the historic Atlantic Building, above the famous Nightclub 9:30 and right around the corner from the FBI Building. In that year she contributed this piece to the ‘Images for Survival: exhibition of American and Japanese Peace Posters’ and the ‘Peace Poster Exhibition’ featuring designs by 151 designers from 31 countries. The exhibition was shown at the Hiroshima Museum of Art in Hiroshima and also in Washington DC and New York.

parasol

The posters were published in this book.

images-for-survival

This is perhaps what she will be most known for. You see, she died young in the year 2000, just after the new millennium began.

I remember visiting her in Boston. The year was 1991. Our country was about to invade Iraq, and I felt helpless and powerless, knowing intuitively that many innocent people were about to die.

I convinced Jeanne that her poster had some kind of magical power, and that we should make as many copies as we could, and that we should post them up everywhere we could. She went along with my madness. I took her to the Harvard Square Kinko’s and we made copies. Then we traveled around Boston and Cambridge and Somerville putting up the posters, using wheat paste, in the manner of the punk rock posters I used to put up on walls half a decade earlier.

When I returned to my home in Washington, DC I continued putting them up. I mailed as many as I could to politicians and the press. This obsession wore off slowly as the war came to a quick climax and then started to cool off.

It was crazy and not practical. It was a preoccupation and an obsession.

I’m not embarrassed by it at all. In fact, I’m proud of it. And I’m proud of my sister – Jeanne Garber. The Artist and Calligrapher whose life was cut short way too soon.