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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Local renowned artist’s work becomes
‘an instrument of peace’

URI Library to exhibit Mimi Sammis’ sculptures, landscapes

KINGSTON, R.I. -- August 8, 2003 -- Before rising from bed in the morning, artist Mimi Sammis, whose works are represented in more than 300 public and private collections worldwide, repeats part of a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

While calling herself spiritual rather than religious, the artist began reciting the line for personal growth, but it wasn’t long before she found it influencing her art. "Images started to come to me. Soon they were hammering at me. Sometimes I’d have to get up to write them down or do a quick pastel or like dreams, they would quickly fade."

The University of Rhode Island campus, as well as the broader Rhode Island community, will be able to view some of those fleeting images that Sammis was able to capture in bronze as well as in some of her landscapes in the Gallery Room of the URI Library from Sept. 15 to Oct. 3.

Sammis will give an informal talk about the creative process and her work in the URI Library’s Galanti Lounge on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Both the exhibit and the talk are free and open to the public.

"Peace begins within each of us," notes Sammis who attended both Yale University and Rhode Island School of Design. "I hope that when people view my work, the art strikes a chord of peace within them."

Sammis supports the global work for peace with her artwork, One Thousand Years of Peace, an exhibition of 30 bronze sculptures that was on exhibit at the United Nations in 1999 and 2001. It was also shown at The Hague, Netherlands, in conjunction with the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference. In the words of Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor of the United Nations’ University of Peace: "Ann Mimi Sammis’s work celebrates the miracle of life and the great age-old concepts of love, peace, forgiveness, hope, and vision which helps humanity on its mysterious journey in the universe."

Sammis’s work can be seen locally as well as globally. Her Dance of Peace rests adjacent to the Narragansett Town Beach. Other works can be seen at The Children’s Museum, Womens and Infants Hospital and at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery to honor women veterans. Last year, Queen Elizabeth unveiled Sammis’s sculpture, He Has The Whole World in His Hands, a piece commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to honor the queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Using a lost wax process, Sammis creates sculptures ranging in size from a foot to a towering 22 feet. The figures, which seem to personify elation and joy, are full of movement.
"I love the tension of the process, to create movement in bronze. When people view the art, they can realize that peace is an option. That peace is not transitory, but it can be permanent, solid, and hard to destroy," explains the artist who divides her time between Narragansett and San Miquel de Allende, Mexico.

"I don’t decide what to do ahead of time," she further explains. "Art is all about spontaneity. I have begun with a set idea and then try to control the creative process. Most of the time, it just doesn’t work. It must be similar to a writer writing a novel as the characters take on a life of their own. The writer gets up in the morning and wonders what they would be doing that day," the artist says, noting that she doesn’t decide how to arrange her sculpted figures until they have been cast in bronze and need to be welded.

The exhibit and the talk are sponsored by the URI Honors Visiting Scholars Program as well as URI’s Art and Political Science Departments, the dean of URI’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.

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Page last revised Wednesday, August 13, 2003 .