The exhibition, sponsored by two of Allianz AG's largest subsidiaries - Allianz Life and Fireman's Fund, is made up of approximately 50 large-scale artworks measuring 9 x 15 feet. Each artwork is accompanied by text panels with quotes by philosophers and thought leaders about living side-by-side in a global village. "We are bringing the message of coexistence, and a rejection of violence to leaders and citizens alike," said Raphie Etgar, initiator and curator of the Museum on the Seam.
Allianz Life CEO Mark Zesbaugh said the Coexistence message ties in with his company's core values. "We recognize that it has never been more important to celebrate diversity, acceptance and tolerance. It's what we stand for, and it only made sense - both professionally and personally - to step up and support this amazing exhibit and cause."
Coexistence began its journey in Jerusalem in July 2001 and has since been mounted in cities across Europe, the U.S. and South Africa. It continues to make its way across the globe by invitation to the Far East and as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
The Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem, established through the support of the von Holtzbrinck family of Germany, turned to artists from around the world to join with their message of coexistence and criticism of intolerance. "Through their participation in the exhibition, the artists were told they would reach millions of people to challenge them to think differently about themselves and their communities," Etgar said. "While politics is in a constant search of finding solutions, art and the written word may have found the answers."
"In the spirit of immigration and cultural exchange, and in the reality of nations undergoing metamorphoses and redefinition of themselves," he continued, "the exhibition guides us to open ourselves to difference and the 'other' in our midst in order to ensure a better, more comfortable and more calm world for future generations to inherit."
Etgar explained that the exhibition sends a visual message of understanding and compassion. "It is intended to awaken people in all places to think about how each one of us can in his or her own way make a small step toward the unfamiliar and the different."
The current U.S. tour of the exhibition will end in New York City's Bryant Park in May 2005. The exhibition will then travel to Paris, London and other cities in Europe. In 2007, it will return for a second tour in the U.S.
About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allianz Life is a leading provider of fixed and variable annuities and life policies, long term care products, as well as a major provider of health excess of loss services, in the U.S. Allianz Life is one of the primary companies of the Allianz Group - the third largest public financial company in the world (Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2003). Allianz Group is represented with 700 subsidiaries in over 70 countries around the globe, and employs 180,000 people worldwide. Founded in 1896, Allianz Life is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
About the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company
Fireman's Fund is a premier property and casualty insurance company providing personal, commercial, marine, excess and surplus lines and agribusiness insurance products nationwide. Rated "A+" in claims paying ability by Standard and Poor's, Fireman's Fund in 2003 had gross premiums written of $4.5 billion.
Editorial Note: The Coexistence exhibition will be erected September 15 - 17, On the National Mall at Third Street and Jefferson Drive. Raphie Etgar will be available during this time, as well as on September 22.