The Ship of Tolerance is an international art project created by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, a world-renowned art duo, famous for their complex large-scale projects and immersive ‘total’ installations. The artist couple holds a pioneering position in the history of conceptual art, having created together nearly 200 of iconic installations, considering the meaning of utopia, the place of the artist, power, hope, fear, escapism, fantasy and much more.
This 60-feet long wooden sculpture has been moored to the Royal Docks since the beginning of August to be the centrepiece art installation of Totally Thames 2019 summer festival, which invites all Londoners and visitors to participate in its amazing programme full of arts, culture and heritage. The floating installation is one of the highlights of this year’s festival edition, exploring the inclusive and welcoming history of London.
The project was founded in 2005 to bring together children from all over the world, with various cultural and religious backgrounds through the universal language of art. It spreads a message of diversity, inclusion and empathy through the eyes and minds of young people. Before arriving in London, the Ship of Tolerance project has been presented in many important locations all over the world, such as Moscow, Havana, Miami, Sharjah or Venice, just to name a few. The project was awarded the prestigious Cartier Prize for the Best Art Project of the Year in 2010. In every new location the ship is created almost from scratch with the sails being designed specially by children from the local communities. For the London’s edition, the artworks that appeared on sails were painted by children from forty London primary schools, from Great Ormond Street Hospital and from refugee centres in Birmingham, Leeds, Peterborough and Calais.
The Ship of Tolerance project supports also a series of workshops for schools and local communities designed to discuss tolerance and diversity among cultures, races and ideas.
The Ship of Tolerance teaches us to appreciate diversity while recognising that we all want love, whether that means to be loved or do what we love. The exhibition is produced by The Kabakov Foundation and Art Action Change in collaboration with Thames Festival Trust.
For those who haven’t seen the installation yet, The Ship of Tolerance is now moving to be moored on the River Thames by Tate Modern, still as a part of Totally Thames festival. It will be available to visit till the end of September.