The Hope and Optimism Portfolio is a unique global art project. It has no geographical,
political or cultural boundaries. Launched in 1990, it comprises some 100 different original,
limited, signed and numbered graphics from almost as many different countries (see the
list of Participating Artists).|
The Portfolio is a charitable project with the benefactors being Magdalen College, Oxford, and art and artists around the world. Accorded the Haut Patronage of UNESCO and with the support of leading National Galleries and Cultural institutions and artists from around the world (see Correspondence), it is of such a vision and hope as likely never to be repeated or emulated again.
The theme, Hope and Optimism - in spite of Present Difficulties, is derived from the linocut by the late Namibian artist John Muafangejo (click on the image to enlarge).
The National Gallery or equivalent body in each country of the world was approached to nominate a leading artist to represent that country. The resulting portfolio not only spans the world culturally but spans the major technical range of the graphic medium. (see The Concept for more information).
What you have here is indeed a scaled down version of my vision. I did want every single country to participate. This just proved impossible. I did want to set up Hope and Optimism centres on each continent and I did have the hope that once every decade a Portfolio like this could be created - and all it needed was one sponsor at about £1million, or for each country to fully pay their artist's costs. Perhaps one day. The Essay was a unique three part source: a questionnaire I compiled based primarily on the Proust questionnaire for artists; an essay of around 1500 words on each country; and a statement/interview with each artist which I had also hopen to publish. Some of these have been completed, including one with John Armleder who was representing Switzerland but who has not yet contributed his image. I have included only three examples chosen at random, and none of the actual interviews. Perhaps one day? Perhaps this millennium.
Having taken almost 10 years to create the portfolio, the next step now is to ensure that the Portfolio can be seen by the public all over the globe. This webpage was set up to give you the opportunity to take a look at All the Prints in the Portfolio, and to inform you about the history of the project and the ideas behind it.
We would like to see the Portfolio find a home in each participating country, ideally as part of a museum's collection or that of a public corporation or private person with a public spirit . Owing to the generosity of the artists, who entered into the spirit of the project by making no personal charge for their time and ability.
If you are interested in purchasing, do let us know. May we also trouble you to give us your views or advice as to how we can secure a portfolio to become 'resident' in your country, preferably at a museum or other public or cultural institution.