‘Ship of Tolerance to dock at Navy Pier in September

(Published Aug. 31, 2019)

“The Ship of Tolerance,” a sailing ship and art piece, will dock at Navy Pier from Sept. 17 through Oct. 6. 

The ship is a free, public art installation at the City Stage lawn in Polk Bros Park and guests will have the opportunity to view and interact with the ship courtesy of the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Foundation.

The mission of “The Ship of Tolerance” is to educate and connect youth from different continents, cultures and identities through the language of art, according to a Navy Pier press release. The conceptual art piece reflects how divergent cultures interpret tolerance and how these understandings overlap. The ship’s sails are stitched together from drawings, painted on silk by schoolchildren from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds to convey a message of tolerance and hope.

“We are all afraid of the unknown,” said artist Emilia Kabakov. “Like a child, you are afraid of something coming at you from the darkness of different religions, different races. We work with these fears—trying to eliminate them, trying to learn about the others—and trying to make our audience understand that knowledge is a tool, which helps with communication.”

Built in Siwa, Egypt in 2005 to engage children and young adults in an active discussion about tolerance, participants were exposed to different cultures and ideas while creating works of art. These drawings were later sewn together to form a mosaic sail, which was mounted atop a ship.

Past iterations of the project have taken place in Venice, Italy; St. Moritz, Switzerland; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Miami; Havana; Brooklyn, New York; Moscow; Samara, Russia; Zug, Switzerland; Cham, Switzerland; Rome; Capalbio, Italy; Rostock, Germany; and Duren, Germany. The ship will sail around London in early September before arriving in Chicago.

For more information, visit navypier.org. 

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