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The Transformative Power of Art and Ideas

Fresco Portraits by Fabrizio Ruggiero

Limonaia di Villa La Pietra, New York University, Florence

26 April -15 June 2017







the Transformative Power of Art.

United Nations General Assembly




A Bruit secret & Pandora’s Box,
Il suono segreto della pittura



Hidden in a forest.  High in Anghiari’s hills.   A lone artist’s studio. 

by Terence Ward

One Spring day, a counselor to the UN President of the General Assembly walked inside. He was stunned by the sculptures and the portraits. And he turned to my wife Idanna. “ I see the colors of Africa, the spirit of Asia, I feel the ancient heart-beat of the Mediterranean.  All this belongs at the UN.” And he asked us to collaborate.

A theme was chosen – the Transformative Power of Art.  Inspiring figures.  Artists, exiles, former prisoners, activists. 
All who used their Art to Raise Consciousness.

Flash forward.  On the 70th anniversary of the first convening of the United Nations General Assembly.
Sculptures stood bold. Frescos lined the walls. 
The UN motto in 2015 was “Year for Global Action”. 
And these artist activists stared at each delegate entering the newly restored General Assembly Hall reminding them of a higher calling.

Then, from the East River in Manhattan, the portraits crossed town, invited by NYU’s Casa Italiana for another exhibition. 

And now, through Ellyn Toscano’s uncanny foresight and unusual vision, ALL has come full circle here to Villa La Pietra – here in Tuscany where these works first began their maiden voyage.




To touch and inspire.  To nudge and provoke.  To remind us of the power to change—to stand up to bigotry and hate, violence and heartlessness.

To rise above the sordid politics of the day.
To act,  to be counted,  and above all,
To play our role.

Terence Ward



 Joan Baez (USA)



Jiddu Krishnamurti (India)


Miriam Makeba (Sud Africa)

Edgar Morin (Francia)

Sebastiao Salgado (Brasile)

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria)

Gong Li (Cina)


   Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan)

Il progetto Ideas, People, Change di cui la mostra fa parte è stato coordinato da Davide Lombardo, NYU Florence.