Si Lewen Art Museum at the IIRP
The Si Lewen Art Museum at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School. Free admission; donations welcome. Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Internationally known artist Si Lewen, now in his 90s and living in Pennsylvania, still creates art daily.
One of the most prolific painters, collagists and graphic artists of the Modernist era, Lewen inspired Albert Einstein to write: “Our time needs you and your work.”
Lewen’s artwork vividly illustrates his extraordinary life journey: He and his family left Poland for Germany to escape violent pogroms, then fled Nazi Germany for France and America. Back in Europe to fight during WWII, Lewen was among the first soldiers to see Buchenwald concentration camp after its liberation.
“Rediscovering Si Lewen” the museum’s ongoing, evolving exhibit, features important works from his series: Rondo, Eva and Odyssey. The pieces range from powerful, dark works that communicate Lewen’s experience of war, violence and bigotry to buoyant, colorful canvasses that convey his unbounded joy in survival, family and the natural world.
A current special exhibit — “The Parade: A Story in 55 Drawings” — tells the saga of never-ending war as Lewen saw it, watching the armistice parades after World War I morph into the death marches of World War II. (“The Parade” book was reissued by the IIRP in 2007. Both the book and a DVD based on the drawings are available at the museum.)
In 2006 Lewen donated the bulk of his artwork to the International Institute for Restorative Practices in support of its mission: “to restore and build community in an increasingly disconnected world.” That mission, said Lewen, is “consistent with the themes of my own life’s work.”
The IIRP (www.iirp.edu) is advancing this mission via its Bethlehem-based Graduate School, which grants master’s degrees and certificates in restorative practices: strategies and a philosophy that prevent and address violence and conflict and build community and relationships. The IIRP’s Continuing Education Division instructs professionals in these practices.
Selected Lewen artworks are available for purchase in the museum’s gallery. Revenue from the sale of Lewen paintings, books and videos support the IIRP Graduate School and its programs.