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Common Ground

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To celebrate the new millennium, in the year 2000 artist Neil Tetkowski undertook a Herculean project: gathering clay from all 188 member countries from the United Nations. With these clay samples, Tetkowski created a suitably monumental work that debuted at United Nations headquarters in New York City—the Common Ground World Mandala. Measuring seven feet in diameter and more than nine feet high, Tetkowski’s sculpture is a testament to the artist’s ability to think beyond boundaries—of scale, of geography, and of politics.

Common Ground uses Tetkowski’s World Mandala as the centerpiece of an exhibition that showcases the Everson’s vast collection of world ceramics. From ancient Mesopotamian and Greek pottery to contemporary Zulu beer brewing vessels and a life-size terra-cotta horse built by Indian priests, the Everson’s collection traces the evolution of ceramics across cultures over thousands of years. Because of Syracuse’s focus on welcoming immigrants and refugees to the community, there are over 70 languages spoken in city schools. Common Ground uses ceramics, one of humankind’s oldest art forms to remind us of our shared bonds with the earth.

Neil Tetkowski, World Mandala Monument, 2000