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In the galleries

Born, raised and educated in Portland, Maine, John Burke has been making art for over seven decades. Trained as a draftsman, Burke also studied with Amedee Ozenfant in New York City in the late 1940s, and he received an honorary degree from the Maine College of Art last year. Through his paintings, drawings and banners, Burke hopes to encourage other artists, including students, to make works that express a religious motive or purpose, and the belief in and struggle toward a more peaceful world. Burke's passionate banners, 15 of which comprise this exhibition, are disturbing and inspiring. Some of these banners have been used at protests against war and at vigils commemorating the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (see "Shatterer of Worlds," pictured right). Others have hung in churches and seminaries and have been carried in holy processions. Like early suffragette pennants, these banners have important messages: "Welcome O Spirit Within," "Bear Wrongs Patiently," and "Happy Those Who Mourn, They Shall Be Comforted." A member of the Catholic peace group, Pax Christi, and the Plowshares, Burke's mentors include Thomas Merton, Martin Buber, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. "Shatterer of Worlds"--the title inspired by Robert Oppenheimer's biography in which he quotes from the Bhagavad-Gita after the testing of an atom bomb at the Trinity site near Los Alamos, "I become death, the shatterer of worlds"--is John Burke's first solo show outside of New England. See it at the John and June Allcott Gallery at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sept. 17 through Oct. 14. There will be an opening reception Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6-8 p.m. --elin o'Hara slavick

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