A remembrance ceremony honoring lost loved ones through art, music and words.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, led to a spontaneous arising of candle-lit shrines around the world for the victims—testimonials for the 2,996 people tragically killed on that day. For weeks, their names appeared in the media; the remembrances began then and continue today on the anniversary date.
Inspired by the aftermath of September 11 and its illuminating the potency of communal recognition for those we love and lose, Peter created Anonymous Requiem.
”I’m a professional performer, but I’ve never given a performance like that. It was so personal and emotional… even cathartic… as nothing I’ve experienced before.”
—Presenter, Anonymous Requiem II, May 11, 2006
Detail of an edge of an Anonymous Requiem painting
Using a methodology he developed for transforming what begin as self-portraits into universal emblems of identity, Peter painted all-white, crisply-edged, imperfectly-round shapes against less-pristinely-white grounds of gesso, pencil marks, and paint erasures: forms suggesting the presence of an absence. For Anonymous Requiem’s original iteration Peter created 14 paintings, which he has re-used in subsequent versions of the project.
ANONYMOUS REQUIEM I
A year and a month after the 9/11 attacks, the event at the Stevenson University Art Gallery included performers Tom Goldstein and Denise Gantt, and students and faculty of Stevenson University. Each of 14 participants chose a loved one who had passed to honor through music, poetry, or prose. The hour-long event featured their 14 presentations in the gallery, with Peter’s paintings on the wall, each with an unlit candle beneath it. As each presenter completed an homage, Peter lit a candle under one of the paintings to illuminated the presence of the lost loved one. One minute of silence followed, and then the next participant went. When all 14 had gone, all 14 paintings glowed in the dim gallery surrounding the audience.
ANONYMOUS REQUIEM II
Over three days in May 2016 at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, participants from all walks of life shared remembrances of lost loved ones, organized thematically. Each event featured 10 presenters, and beside Peter’s 10 Anonymous Requiem paintings, dozens of other artworks by artists ranging from professionals to Baltimore public school students. The first night (Requiem Suite) included members of UMBC’s Percussion Ensemble performing 10 short percussion pieces, the second (Love Eternal/Love Expressed) featured odes by adult seniors, and the third (Young Remembrances) featured young people from Baltimore schools and youth programs.
ANONYMOUS REQUIEM III
In conjunction with a New Day Campaign project in Maryland’s Allegany County, Anonymous Requiem III took place October 18, 2018, in partnership with the Allegany Arts Council and First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland. Eight individuals sang, spoke, wrote, and read words remembering those who have died from causes related to substance use disorder—a humanistic and secular event in the setting of a church.
“It was a beautiful event for sharing and healing. Thank you to the New Day Campaign for bringing light to dark places.
—Audience member, Anonymous Requiem III, October 18, 2018