• Jen Haefeli

Partnering for Peace

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

"It can be stated that peace is the greatest and highest goal or hope that everyone wishes to achieve personally and expects to be created in society and in the world." (

Peace is a noun, and it is defined as the following, per Webster:

It is a term used to describe a feeling or state of quiet or tranquility, freedom from civil disturbance. When one is in a state of security or there is order within a community wherein laws or customs are followed, one will feel peace. It is commonly used as a greeting or parting gestural term as well as to request silence. (

The word "peace" comes from the Latin word "pax", which means "pact" or "agreement", as in an agreement to put aside a dispute, disagreement, argument, conflict, or conclude a war. (

Azy, my co-creator for Poetic Illustrations, a project I hold dear to my heart, gives a token of Peace through a yearly project she pours her passion into. The Peace Project, which rolls out annually on Peace Day, September 21st, is intended to develop a stronger and more cohesive sense of calm and Peace among recipients of the carefully and lovingly made pieces. The project employs the assistance of volunteer "Peace Ambassadors" who deliver doves in honor of Peace for the day.

I'm a proud "Peace Ambassador", and this year's Peace Project will display three of my pieces of art focusing on the outstanding individuals in the Poetic Illustrations project.

The following pieces have been selected for The 2021 Peace Project:

Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani

Fields Medal Winning Mathematician & College Professor

Hand drawn & painted by Artist Jen Haefeli for Poetic Illustrations

Iranian-American, Stanford Mathematician & Fields Medal winner Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman to date to win the award. Born in Tehran, Dr. Mirzakhani wanted to be a Mathematician. She studied at the Tehran Farzanegan School, followed by the Sharif University of Technology and then Harvard University. Dr. Mirzakhani's work focused on the Teichmüller and Ergodic Theories, as well as the studies of Hyperbolic & Symplectic Geometry. In addition to becoming the first female Fields Medal recipient, she is also the first Iranian recipient. She received the prestigious award for her work on "the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces" (The Guardian). Dr. Mirzakhani broke many boundaries for women, and for immigrants. In 2005 she was selected as one of Popular Science's "Brilliant 10".

Source Material & More Information on Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani can be found here:

Alicia Partnoy

Argentine Human rights Activist, Poet,

& College Professor & Translator

Hand drawn & painted by Artist Jen Haefeli for Poetic Illustrations

Alicia Partnoy moves through space with a calm poise, but a resolute confidence distinguishing her from others in a unique and significant way. She beholds a rare kind of strength. She is a dignified warrior with a calm and approachable sense who holds fire in her soul. Alicia uses her spirit to address the horrors of past and present. She speaks with thunderous wisdom from a place of deep knowledge. Her words know pain, and she communicates a warning the way only one who has seen the darkest depths of humanity can.

Imprisoned and held for three years with no charges, Alicia experienced a cruel variety of punishments during the Argentine genocide. She was interned at a concentration camp by the name of The Little School, or La Escualita, then transferred to the prisons Villa Floresta and then Villa Devoto before being forced into refugee status in the United States where she was later reunited with her daughter and husband.

Alicia has testified and shared her experience as a "prisoner of conscience" with organizations such as The United Nations, and Amnesty International. Alicia's experience has been documented with the Argentine Human Rights Commission as testimony for the National Commission for the Investigation of the Disappeared. She has dedicated her life to sharing the memory of the "disappeared", the over 30,000 Argentinians who vanished and who's whereabout and fate are still unknown. Alicia has written several books of poetry on the subject of her incarceration and the loss of lives taken in an attempt to extinguish the truth.

Jen Haefeli (Wild Root), Alicia Partnoy, & Azy (Creator of The Peace Project)

Presenting Alicia with our work from Poetic Illustrations

Roadwork: Sisterfire, The Smithsonian Folklife Festival

(Washington, D.C., 2018)

It was privilege to meet Alicia and thank her for her continued dedication to advocate on behalf of the memory of The Disappeared.

To Alicia, thank you for your warm spirit, vivacious tenacity and loving perseverance to fight for justice. I am honored to call you friend. I am very pleased that this work is being utilized for this year's Peace Dove project.

Source Material & More Information on Alicia Partnoy can be found here:

More Information on The Argentine Dirty War & The Disappeared:

Pearl Primus

Dancer, Choreographer & Anthropologist

Hand drawn & painted by Artist Jen Haefeli for Poetic Illustrations

Pearl Primus was well-trained and well-traveled. She was a Dancer & Choreographer who utilized her incredible talents as a form of artistic activism & social protest. It seems that nothing stopped her from learning movement so that she could teach others, then choreograph and present for an audience. Pearl was an accomplished, capable, and adaptive dancer. A Nigerian community she once visited initiated her, calling her, "Omawale" or a "Child who has returned home." She learned the dance techniques of the community and returned to the United States where she later taught Alvin Ailey's dance group what she learned.

In addition to teaching technique, Pearl advocated for foreign groups to come to the United States to perform from countries like Senegal, Gambia & Guinea through her work with the Liberian Konama Kende Performing Arts Center.

Pearl's work evolved and grew as her talents and interest in her teachings evolved. The Primus Company, which was Pearl's initial solo sho experience became quite popular and eventually she performed for a crowd of 20,000. She and her husband began The Dance Language Institute, as well as Earth Theatre, and over the course of her career Pearl taught at Universities like NYU, Howard, the five college consortium in Massachusetts, among several others as well as for foundations like The Ford & Julius Rosenwald Foundations, The U.S. Office of Education, The New York State Office of Education, and The Council for The Arts in Westchester.

Pearl went to great lengths to ensure she developed personal identity within her work. She lived the daily routine of a sharecropper, and she traveled the globe to do more than research and report to compile insight for her choreography, but to experience the culture. Much like an actor would perform "method acting", Pearl choreographed pieces based on actual experiences she had and through movement taught or inspired by historical experience and stories she was told of slavery, migration, and life of the diaspora. For these reasons Pearl's work is unique in its approach, making her a fundamental trailblazer in the framework of jazz and lyrical movement in the modern dance age.

Pearl's advocacy and focus on traditional West Indian & African movement, aesthetic and the indigenous roots she employed in her movement were intended to inspire viewers to understand the horrors of lynchings, the toil of daily sharecropping, and the heritage of Africa. Her work influenced a genre of dance in ways akin to Martha Graham and modern dance. Pearl Primus' most well-known choreographed pieces are Strange Fruit, Negro Speaks of Rivers, & Hard Time Blues.

Among many honors, Pearl Primus is a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts as well as an honorary doctorate from Spellman College.

Source Material & More Information on Pearl Primus can be found here:

In honor of these trailblazing & amazing women and their accomplishments, Azy's creations this year feature groups around the world doing work to support women's rights. To join The Peace Project, please check out Azy's site for more information on how the project works and how you can help!

The 2021 Peace Project can be seen here:

Additional work created for the Poetic Illustrations project can be viewed here:

A limited number of sign, hand-embellished watercolor prints created for the Poetic Illustrations project can be viewed here:

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