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Press release

“Social Justice in America
By: Leon Nicholas Kalas

Press contact: Leon Nicholas Kalas, artist /curator 718-797-3943
Click on “New Exhibit on Social Justice”

This exhibition explores and illuminates the problem with “Social Justice in America” from the view point of the visual artist, Leon Nicholas Kalas, an outsider, an American by choice but not by birth. The question of social justice has always been an intriguing issue to Mr. Kalas that he was unable to comprehend from the very beginning, when he came to America from Europe in 1960. In that decade, America experienced a terrible turmoil with its social justice. He had expected to arrive in a country that claimed to be the “Land of the Free”. Yet, there was discrimination towards the black race, a people with the right to be in this country, since they were brought here in chains as slaves, over anyone else that came after them by their own free will. Still, these people were treated as second class citizens simply because of skin color. Mr. Kalas found the national anthem statement; “land of the free”, to be a very ironic and hypocritical statement. Black people were brought to America against their free will, to be sold as slaves. While at the same time, the American anthem heralded a “land of the free”. This social injustice has persisted and prevailed through American history, not only towards the black race, but throughout the masses: the poor, the homeless, the jobless, the handicapped, the old, the gay, and anyone else in America that does not fit a standard. With the presented works of this exhibition, Mr. Kalas suggests that Americans should take an evaluative look at their social justice. The total number of pieces for this exhibit is12, ranging in sizes from 40”x60” the largest, to 16”x20” the smallest. The entire body of works consists of oils, acrylics and collages.

About the artist: Leon Nicholas Kalas, curator-artist, is a native of Athens, Greece, residing in Brooklyn, New York for the past 46 years. In pursuing his art, he focused primarily on the human figure. He has experimented with various art movements. However, the decision to paint the human figure was initially an aesthetic one, although an even deeper response to the human condition has inspired his work. He believes that human beings are noble: “we live with the knowledge that some day our lives will end and we wonder if there is a purpose to our existence. There is a very tragic, noble quality to this basic condition”. Mr. Kalas believes that art must aspire to a loftier goal than commentary and must speak to the essentially human aspect common to all of us, if it is to succeed. When it does, it is timeless and tragic. Mr. Kalas’ works have been extensively exhibited in the New York City area and Baltimore, and have been collected throughout the United States and Europe. One of his works is in the permanent collection of the Clinton Presidential Library, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Kalas’ work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, (in June of 2005). He is also in the Library of Congress; exhibit No.1132 archive No.783. He has studied at the New York Academy of Art and the Art Students League of New York

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