Self-taught Swedish artist Janeric Johansson has become a sort of itinerant diplomat. Johansson was born in 1950, and became a Christian in 1966 in a Pentecostal church, and now is a Baptist. He first exhibited in Copenhagen and Stockholm during the early 1970s. Various exhibits in Arab nations, Israel, New Zealand, Ireland, and Europe during the 1980s put the artist in contact with cultural officials from the Baltic states, Russia, and China.

Johansson's compassion for those oppressed by their governments led him to develop graphic word concepts that had an intentionally challenging content.

These works will be featured in Work of Heart, a book scheduled for publication in Switzerland in the fall (and will be available through the Internet at www.janericjohansson.com).

The Arch

(Acrylic painting on sawed plywood, eight parts, 1991)

In January 1991, while the United States and other nations fought the Gulf War, Soviet troops attacked Vilnius, Lithuania, and Riga, Latvia. In response, the artist created The Arch for the gallery at the Scandinavian Summit on the Baltic Countries in Copenhagen. He wanted to challenge the passive attitude that Scandinavian leaders had taken toward the Baltic states. "The idea," Johansson says, "is based on the writings of Leonardo da Vinci," who understood that a heavy weight cannot easily break an arch, because its keystone supports two weaker semicircles that lean against one another. For Johansson, the image provides "a very fine image of mutual support providing strength."

Plywood figures representing the outline of the Nordic and Baltic countries, painted in the colors of their national flags, can be placed in their geographical order, but then rearranged to form an arch in which the Nordic countries ...

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