Artist Si Lewen, who donated his work to IIRP, surrounded by some of his paintingsArtist Si Lewen, who donated his work to IIRP, surrounded by some of his paintingsArtist Si Lewen – who celebrates his 95th birthday today – donated his catalog of paintings and rights to his books to the IIRP to support the organization’s mission “to restore and build community in an increasingly disconnected world."

Last month renowned graphic novelist Art Spiegelman featured Lewen's The Parade in a special talk and performance given at Sydney (Australia) Opera House. The Parade: A Story in 55 Drawings, tells the saga of never-ending war as witnessed by Lewen, who watched the armistice parades after World War I morph into the death marches of World War II. Spiegelman is the author of many books including Maus, a two-volume portrayal of his father's experience during the Holocaust for which he was awarded a special Pulitzer prize.

Spiegelman's Wordless, which is described by Australian Broadcasting Network in a pre-event interview as "Part lecture, part slide show, part jazz concert," surveys some of the pre-history of the graphic novel as well as Spiegelman's own influences. It includes live music by Sydney-based composer Phillip Johnston.

Karen Crawley and Honni van Rijswijk, blogged about Wordless after the performance at the Sydney Opera House for the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia in a post titled "Wordless: Spiegelman and the Aesthetics and Ethics of the Graphic Novel."

Crawley and van Rijswijk describe The Parade as "magnificent." Crawley also wrote, "In Johnson’s haunting orchestral accompaniment to Lewen’s The Parade, it was possible to forget there was an orchestra, so sublime was the co-mingling between image and music."

Watch The Parade:

Learn more about Lewen and his work.

Wordless will be performed again by Spiegelman and Johnston at Colorado College (USA) on January 22 (tickets only $5 but not available to the general public until January 17).

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