Thinking into the box

FRAGILE!! CONTAINS PEACE! (or alternatively love or justice)

In 2006 artist Franck De Las Mercedes started to make these Priority Boxes. He now sends out hundreds of uniquely painted boxes like this each year as part of a project which provides a platform for communication through art:

“The Priority Boxes project is a public art series that seeks to provoke thought, to make people reconsider their ability to influence change, communicate through art and make art accessible to people from all walks of life.” (Franck De La Mercedes)

Sceptics might criticise the fact that this project isn’t drawing attention to a particular issue, or raising money for any cause, but the fact that it is a catalyst for self examination is an extremely significant one. This is a thought experiment, a symbolic exercise, and one that is gaining momentum. Over 9000 boxes have now been distributed to several different continents since the project began.

Here are a few things that Frank De La Mercedes’ boxes made me think about:

      • Although many boxes are produced using the same concept, each is a unique piece of art, this reflects the fact that each person’s experience of the need for peace, love and justice, is different and each person will have a different way of approaching and solving the issues they come across.
      • The box says FRAGILE, and can be held physically in our hands, in fact they have to be held in order for them to reach their destination– what is in our hands that has an effect on peace, love and justice? Does it matter what we do with it? Can we be trusted with something so fragile?
      • The box has an inside and an outside. What is visible and what do we need to find out about situations where peace, love and justice are lacking?
      • The box is empty – what can we do to hold on to peace when it often seems so difficult to grasp? Does this involve creating the right environment to contain it / give it shape?
      • The box is a free gift. This is to convey that something of such a priority as peace should not have a price. What is getting in the way of peace in our communities and the world?
      • Gifts also create a relationship between the giver and the recipient. They create obligations and ties. What are we going to do with the gift that is peace for us? Does our privilege mean we are obligated to give back in gratitude?

If you want to order your own box go here, have a great new year!!


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