Dancer Debbie Sheme to Perform at ‘Dream Peace’ Exhibit Opening

Debbie Sheme, the founder of Sanibel Dance, will perform a short improvisational dance at the opening of Sanibel artist Myra Roberts’ “Dream Peace” exhibition.

Online PR News – 11-January-2018 – Sanibel Island, FL – Debbie Sheme, the founder of Sanibel Dance, will perform a short improvisational dance at the collaborative opening reception of Sanibel artist Myra Roberts’ “Dream Peace” exhibition. The opening of the show, at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers, is Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The exhibit runs through Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

Sheme will pay homage to the subject of Roberts’ mixed-media painting “Franceska Mann,” which is part of the upcoming exhibition. Mann, one of the most promising dancers of her generation, lost her life in a horrific uprising of prisoners in Crematorium 4 at Auschwitz.

Sheme is also the founder of Sanibel Pilates and Yoga. She grew up in Pennsylvania, where she began dance training at age 3. Sheme has studied ballet, tap, jazz, twirling, modern dance and Pilates.

Pianist/teacher Roxane Olevsky will play while Sheme dances, and throughout the opening. Olevsky has put together a selection of short pieces “reflecting the spirit of the exhibition.” Also performing will be Megan Shindler and her theatrical collective S(he) Will Fade, which “creates ethnographic work.”

As an artist focusing on social commentary issues, Roberts’ “Dream Peace” is her newest series of multimedia works—more than 60 paintings and found object installations. “Dream Peace” features poster-style paintings of contemporary political injustices, and of Bielski partisans and other survivors of the Nazi Holocaust—some of whom were interviewed by the artist.

“Aurora Mardiganian,” an acrylic on canvas, was commissioned by a family that suffered losses in the Armenian Genocide. That was the “extermination of 1,500,000 Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions during 1915 to 1923. The massacres were masterminded and perpetuated by the government of Young Turks and were later finalized by the Kemalist government,” according to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. In 2007, the Daily Mail reported “Winston Churchill described it as an ‘administrative holocaust.’ Chillingly, Adolf Hitler used the episode to justify the Nazi murder of six million Jews.”

Also included in the exhibition are spiritual/Buddhist paintings that evoke the antithesis of war.

The testimonial video interviews are embedded in Roberts’ found object installations in the form of “talking suitcases.” Two-time Emmy Award winner Jesse Stein helped the artist with the videos. One “talking suitcase” features Sanibel resident Robert “Bob” Hilliard, who was stationed in Germany shortly after World War II’s end. Hilliard gives his thoughts about current U.S. politics.

“Making meaningful social statements about our human condition is important to me, and links the past and present,” explains Roberts. “Crimes against humanity continue daily. We are all diminished when any person suffers because of discrimination. Our differences make life more interesting and our common humanity matters most of all. ‘Dream Peace’ inspires viewers to ponder the need for change.”

“Dream Peace” includes “Sandy Hook,” a painting about gun control; and “Never Again,” a commissioned work by Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

In addition to the “Dream Peace” works, Roberts will exhibit selected pieces from recent series. “Florida Retro” paintings resurrect the Sunshine State’s past, and “Endangered Species” works draw attention to future concerns. “Smokescreen: Prelude to the 1940s” is a series of collages that depict American and/or German middle-class domestic life combined with images of Hitler’s rise to power. “Angels on Earth” celebrates extraordinary lives. Included is 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Malala Yousafzai, who is now studying at Oxford University.

For more information about the exhibition visit The Sidney & Berne Davis Center is located at 2301 First Street in Fort Myers.

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