Charles Wisseman, Mixed Media Artist


dona nobis pacem

Next entry in the cubic foot of art project-- the peace book. After singing a lot of songs about peace on earth and good will toward men, I was looking at the year in review in pictures in the New York Times and thinking how little peace and good will was shown. My wife and I had sung some of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Donis nobis pacem cantata before Christmas with the University oratorio, so I decided to make a book based on "dona nobis pacem" (grant us peace, from the Agnus Dei section of the Catholic mass). One of my favorite rounds to sing is the traditional canon consisting of dona nobis pacem sung in three overlapping sequences with different melodies, sung over and over as long as the group wants to sing.. This can only be sung as a group, which reinforces the message of peace between people. I had a set of handmade papers with embedded strings, so I tied them into a long chain, and wrote the dona nobis pacem words in three colors across the chain. (orange and blue are University of Illinois colors-- the U of I has had a lot of controversy and rancor this year). The chain can be joined at each end to form a loop-- an endless round-- with a half twist to make this a mobius strip with words running continuously along both sides as one continuous strip. There is only one side in this configuration—the impression of separateness and duality is an illusion. Have a peaceful and prosperous new year.
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