Kabakov’s Ship of Tolerance Sails into Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach



Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Time: Children’s Reception 5:00-7pm/ Collector’s Reception 8-9:30pm

Location: Miami Children’s Museum


The mission of the Ship of Tolerance is to educate and connect the youth of different continents, cultures, and identities together through the language of art.

“Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.” (President Barack Obama, January 12, 2011, University of Arizona memorial service)

A life-sized replica of the original Ship of Tolerance first built in Siwa, Egypt will be constructed in Miami in early fall 2011. The size of the ship is approximately 60 meters long by 20 meters wide. The ship’s sail will be stitched together from paintings of hundreds of local schoolchildren from different ethnic and social backgrounds and will convey a message of tolerance and hope. By participating in the creation of this ship hundreds of children will learn about respecting different cultures and ideas while appreciating how they differ from their own. In short, through this creative process, they will both demonstrate and gain a vibrant lesson in tolerance. The ship will be exhibited in front of Miami Children’s Museum, where the Ship will be launched in a celebratory event on Watson Island.

About the artists:

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, co-creators:

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are globally recognized as the premier artists to emerge from the Soviet Union and are major figures on the international art scene. In 2008 they were awarded the Premium Imperiale, established by the Emperor of Japan to honor the fields that the Nobel Prize does not cover. “Art News” magazine named them among top 10 living artists. Their work is regularly exhibited in leading international museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington DC, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris. In 1993 they represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale with their installation The Red Pavilion. The Kabakovs have also completed many important public commissions throughout Europe and have received a number of honors and awards, including the Oscar Kokoschka Preis, Vienna, in 2002 and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, in 1995.

llya Kabakov has been making installation art since 1984. Working with Emilia Kabakov, he has become one of the medium’s most important practitioners and theoreticians. He is a leading figure in the Russian art movement of the 1980s, known as “Moscow Conceptualism.” Kabakov was born in 1933 and lived in the Soviet Union until coming to the West in 1988. Emilia Kabakov was born in 1945 and came to the New York in 1975 where she worked as a curator and an art dealer. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have been working together since 1989. They live and work in Long Island, NY.


The first Ship of Tolerance was built in 2005 in Siwa, Egypt to engage children and young adults in an active discussion surrounding tolerance in their daily lives. Participants were given vivid exposure to different cultures and ideas while creating astonishing works of art. These drawings and paintings were later sewn together to form a mosaic sail, which was mounted atop a ship. The construction of the ship itself was part of the performance, with high school students coming in from Manchester, England to build the vessel from the keel up under the guidance of master carpenters working from the Kabakov’s designs. The Kabakovs recreated the project in Venice, Italy in 2007 for the Venice Biennale and in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 2010 where they received the prestigious Cartier Award for their project, Wind ofTolerance.

The project has garnered global media coverage and tremendous attention in each host country’s news and cultural outlets. The Ship of Tolerance has become a unique symbol in each host country’s collective consciousness, a symbol that change with each new launch according to the unique political and cultural reality of each setting. Partnered with Art Basel Miami Beach 2011, Miami is bound to generate new and stimulating interpretations for the Kabakov’s vessel.


The project begins with an outreach to schoolchildren in Miami to discuss the meaning of tolerance and the merits of other cultures, races, and ideas. They will work with the teaching artists to expand their own cultural, creative, and academic horizons. During the workshop period, children will be asked to draw pictures that will be used to decorate the boat. These pictures will represent messages of Tolerance from each child.

Paintings created by the children will be combined together to form a giant sail, which will be hoisted atop the ship, which will be on a platform to allow it to be pulled along the water. The ship will be assembled on site on Watson Island to allow thousands of visitors to admire the construction, learn about the project, and be inspired by its message. Additional sails will be displayed throughout the City in order to gather awareness.

Materials and brochures about the project will be available for the visitors to understand the purpose of the project and learn ways in which they can be involved. Teen ambassadors will be on site each day to answer questions and to give guided tours of the ship.

The ship’s launch will be the project’s climax. The launching ceremony will consist of a party at Miami Children’s Museum gathering Art collectors and aficionados with all participating children, their friends and family, members of the community, press and local celebrities.


Creating together, despite our differences, something bigger than ourselves, something of monumental beauty that inspires community celebration. The Ship of Tolerance will give hundreds of young people in Miami the opportunity to create and celebrate a monumental accomplishment together. They will learn about tolerance, the arts, and what it means to respect other cultures around the world.

The ship’s construction and launch will entail:

  • A collaboration of a large number of community-based organizations.

  • The direct participation of 300 youths painting of the sails.

  • Dozens of teenagers as Ambassadors to the project.

  • 10,000+ visitors per day viewing the construction.

  • Extensive coverage in local news, arts and education media.


Wolfgang Roth & Partners Fine Art

Wolfgang Roth & Partners, Fine Art, serves as a vehicle to establish world-class exhibitions and is committed to positive community engagement and social contributions. The programming of the exhibitions is conceived to feature strong considerations of both blue chip and leading contemporary works by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Peter Beard, Andy Warhol, and David LaChapelle as well as emerging talents. The venue offers a rare collection of art currently unavailable in the Miami market.

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum

Housed on the University Park campus of Florida International University, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum opened in 1977. Initially a small gallery of less than 3000 square feet, the Museum grew to achieve local, national and international recognition as one of South Florida’s key cultural institutions. In 1999, the Museum received accreditation from the American Associations of Museums (AAM) and in 2001 became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Following the groundbreaking for its new facilities in 2003, the Art Museum at FIU has officially renamed The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. The museum gained a respected reputation for its innovative exhibitions, outstanding lecture series and educational outreach programs for South Florida’s diverse audiences.

Miami Children’s Museum

Miami Children’s Museum (MCM) is dedicated to enriching the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning and enabling children to realize their highest potential. It is a non-profit educational institution that meets the needs of all children in our multicultural community. MCM offers interactive exhibits, programs, and learning materials related to arts, culture, community, and communication.


Overtown Youth Center

Toissant Elementary School (Little Haiti)

Miami Arts Charter School

New World School of Arts

Touching Miami With Love

Leadership Learning Center (Little Havana)

Frost Museum Summer Children’s Program

Miami Children’s Museum

Carrollton Academy