The Peace Chamber:
The Crosses of Lafayette Recounted
Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery January 2017
The Peace Chamber is a conceptual art installation that re-visits the meaning and message behind The Crosses of Lafayette. The installation is a multi-layered experience created with cut paper, wood, reflective surfaces, video and computer altered photography. The installation is inescapably interactive.
The installation was described as a sacred space for the community to remember, reflect and begin again. The project received multiple grants and touched over 800 visitors.
The Crosses of Lafayette, a grassroots protest and public art piece begun in 2003, has had its well-publicized controversies but regardless of one’s political or religious affiliation, the hill has evolved into a true Peace Memorial internationally recognized, yet deeply rooted here in the golden grasses of the East Bay.
The founders, resilient yet getting on in years, continue to climb the hill monthly to battle the weeds, and to repair rotten crosses. The sign is periodically updated by a single volunteer with a shocking number representing the body count from the Iraq and Afghan wars (the “never ending war” still underway).
The hillside has become a non-political, and multi-faith place of healing, where gold star moms pay tribute to lost children and annual community vigils are held. Travelers on Bart and Highway 24 are confronted daily with the conspicuous reminder of the tragic costs of war.
After 10 years many have forgotten to take notice of the hillside. Lara drives past the installation on a daily basis and was prompted into creative action upon realizing that the Crosses faced an unsure future. She is currently a founding member of the Lafayette Hillside Memorial Board of Directors, engaged in an architectural and creative capacity to help the group visualize a future for a permanent memorial and to help ensure the legacy of the Crosses Landmark and its message is protected.
For more on the history leading up to the Peace Chamber, read Lara's blog:
East Bay Times January 8, 2017: Art Piece Invites Conversation
Diablo Magazine: The Hit List: January 2017
Lamorinda Weekly January 11, 2017: Perlmutter Gallery becomes the Peace Chamber