This 5th issue was a collaboration between Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) and Guido Vermeulen (Belgium). Monica said: "I am thinking of pain in relation to hope, pain and the way it relates to new beginnings. I would like to capture that journey that ends with pain and hurt, be it loss, suffering, hardship and where new journeys start, such as smiles, whispers, flowers, music, cleansing, even the abstract with positive messages. If u know what I mean.." This is how the mail art network responded:

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"the pain of remembering youth"

tryptich by Gianni Simone, Japan - Italy

Comments by Gianni in a letter of May 5, 2004:

"Give me back my life" was contributed also to a German project a couple of years ago. Here we have the pain of growing up and the anger most teenagers and youngsters feel towards society and their family in particular.

"Seventeen" is my personal version of James Joyce's Ulysses chapter 17. It's quite autobiographical. A Lot of unsolved father-son conflict here! The hope side of this is that now I'm a father myself and I'm doing my best NOT to repeat my father's mistakes - or what I perceived as mistakes.

"The letter" is much lighter in content. It's more banal but after all the joys and pain of love is something everybody experiences sooner or later. Here pain can be both seen as physical and emotional. I don't know about you, but when I'm heartbroken, I get stomachaches.

"the pain of being WANTED"

Postcard creation by Roberto Scala, Italy

Hope = to strike against pain

Envelope by Eric Bensidon, France

Pain Performance "On the verge of the body" by Antonio Sassu, Italy
executed at the 50th Biennale of Venice in 2003

Giovanni Strada, Italy

Tryptich collaboration between Marcel Herms

& Sietse Hoeksma, The Netherlands

1. Fysical Pain

2. Mental Pain

3. After the pain : FREEDOM!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Pain & Hope paintings,

Front & back cover like images of the same mirror

Daniel C. Boyer, USA


Thoughts& dreams grow and flow
Differently in you and me..
depending on time,
mood, emotions,
and our strength

Our thoughts depend on light
falling through our windows
the latter’s size,
their condition,
or their total absence.

Our thoughts
depend on the hands,
holding and helping or
hurting and harming us

Our thoughts
influence our dreams
either dismal, daring, or
by their mere absence

Our thoughts
and dreams shape our life
at large., and those around
and growing with or through us.

* * *


Our thoughts
without restraint
wander in ever direction
snowballing on a spark
growing into
an enchanting dream
like an iridescent soap bell
that eventually splatters
startling us, and leaving us
with a dark void...

though our thoughts
may be ephemeral and light
they may in time become
strongly persuasive
in deciding our future dreams
and the future of our children
as well as the next generation
and the next….

Lini Richarda Grol, Canada

When Monica proposed "pain & hope" as the theme for a Friour issue I think she tapped into the universe because in the year that followed several other "hope" projects saw the light, so suddenly artists involved in networking were confronted with this topic from many sides:

The postcard above came from a Californian breast cancer awareness project which wanted to be a celebration of courage.

In London a café called ESPERANZA (Hope in Spanish) decided to spread another hope project with exhibition in the café situated in Camberwell, south of London.

Canadians challenged the network with their call "Let's ciment hope", consisting of decorating stones and bricks and mailing them for a joint installation.

Hope is like that flower that is popping seeds to all continents. I suppose Bush & Blair are likely to label that flower as a "terrorist"

By the way this is also the latest project of my Belgian friend Laurent d'Ursel. He planted the flower near a theatre in my neighborhood and will make a movie next summer when the flower starts popping its seeds into the area. This movie will be projected in the theatre and intends to be an artistic comment on the present waves of hysteria and terrorismania. Theresa dear, wish you were here at that golden moment of transforming world ugliness into surreal slapstick beauty... (GV)


Het sneeuwt weer
rozenblaadjes in het meer
Meervoud omdat ik honger voel.

De opgeroepen wind speelt met water
in een schotel leegte
om mijn hart te voeden
met verdwenen linzen.

Wat wij overhouden
is de stilte van het stillen,
het blijven houden van
vissen die mekaar niet kunnen missen
in de omarming van een boom.

Als liefde droom is,
laat mij dan blijvend slapen, zei zij,
en verdrink dan de kus van de prins
in de vergeetachtigheid van het zijn.

Het sneeuwt weer gelukkig
zijn de ramen niet gedicht.

Guido Vermeulen
December 2003

Hope is a prayer against the despair of poverty, collage by Guido Vermeulen

Laura Barletta, USA

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Installation and photos by Guido

To end all suffering, conversation between Martha (UK) & Guido (Belgium)

Goodbye Samsara, collage by Guido Vermeulen, Belgium


We all relate to the All as drops to the Ocean
Containing the Source of Life, that is God.
If we hurt each other we hurt God.
What does that do to our souls?
What we sow we’ll harvest.
Our souls are Divine.
God wants love.
We all came
Via love
Born to
Follow our
Own self-chosen
Course to the Source
From where we all sprang
At the early dawn of humanity.
There we finally shall all become one.
The ONE we always have been, but forgot,
With past and future mingling in infinite NOW.
Humanity has adapted itself to extreme climatic and geographic Variations.
Now we must equally adapt to, benefit and celebrate ALL varieties of Humanity.
Brother E. T. (A. A.)

Erik the Viking, England

Ruggero Maggi, Italy

Giovanni Strada, Italy

Why does music exist if not to help the most wretched, to offer salvation in the direct circumstances, to restore the heart that has been lost?

It isn't the musician that counts, nor is it the music.
Only the listener, and the star that rises, unexpected and unimaginable, in the firmament of his sadness; the warmth in his cold; the unfamiliar hope in the familiar, turbulent ocean of despair.
Love is there. Not in the one who gives, nor in the one who receives, nor even between the two: it is the exchange of one for the other.

Music is this exchange; the musician the one who initiates it.

Hélène Grimaud, excerpt from the foreword to the album CREDO
For more info on this incredible musician "in tune with wolves", visit:

Painting by Frida Kahlo, Poetic prose text by Guido Vermeulen

Naar de dokter lopen voor pijnstillers lost niets op
Ik koester mijn pijn tot die overgaat in het tegendeel

Door naar de muziek van Hélène Grimaud te luisteren bvb
Door oma's breiwerk te zien dijen vanuit het achtersteegje van het bestaan
Door opgekropt verdriet te verbranden in de open haard
tot de vlammen felrood het dak van de hemel likken
en engelen bereid zijn hun ware gedaante te tonen
Door met welwillendheid het liefdesspel van twee naaktslakken te observeren in de tuin van het kwade
Door het tweegevecht tussen kraai en duif te vereenvoudigen
tot een strijd "within"

En toch...
En toch zijn er van die onopvallende momenten dat ik achteloos op de lotto speel
zonder enige hoop
want hoop, echte hoop, dat reserveer ik voor belangrijker dingen
zoals de uitdijende liefde van oma's breiwerk.

Running to the doctor for painkillers is not a solution
I embrace my pain till it transcends in its opposite

By listening to the music of Hélène Grimaud for instance
By watching grandma's knitting expand from the back alley of existence
By burning bottled up sadness in the fireplace till the flames are licking fiercely
red the rooftop of heaven and angels are ready to show their true colors
By observing with kindness the love play of 2 slugs in the garden of evil
By simplifying the duel between crow and dove to a simple battle "within"

But nevertheless…
Still exist these inconspicuous moments where I play carelessly on the lottery
without any hope
because hope, real hope, is a state I reserve for more important things
like the expanding love of granny's knitting
December 9-10, 2005

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Hope" by Elaine Rounds, Canada

Letter of Antonio Marrese, announcing the death of his wife and Friour collaborator Monica Ferretti. She died April 28, 2004. To overcome the pain of loss is an ever returning pebble on the path of life (GV)

"The colors of pain & hope" by Diane Bertrand, Canada

"Hope over all" by Nuria Montoya, Italy

"For Pain & Hope" by Keiichi Nakamura, Japan

"Solitudine" to Pain & Hope, computer art by Paul Tiililä, Finland, February 2004

Pain & Hope, Untitled
by Isao Yoshii, Japan

"The dream of daily bread" by Sergio Monteiro de Almeida, Brazil

Object Poem

by Sergio Monteiro de Almeida, Brazil

2 texts on balloons:


Of which color are your dreams ?


The most important thing in life are our dreams

Saturday, December 03, 2005


dedicated to Sergio Monteiro de Almeida and Monica Arac de Nyeko (*)

Sommige bloemen zijn zoals ballonnen.
Ze reiken naar bevrijding
in hun vlucht van aarde.

De wind schudt het groen uit hun gewaad
tot de gele koorts sterft in mijn verdoofde ogen
bij het nederdalen van de maan
naar de broze mantel van hun liefde.

Ze zeggen iets als kleur
moet je niet bekennen
maar verliezen.

(De bloem is een vluchteling die ik omhels tot er niets meer overblijft)


Certain flowers are like balloons.
They reach for liberation
as they flee the earth.

The wind shakes the green from their garment
till the yellow fever dies in my stunned eyes
when the moon declines to the fragile coat of love.

They say something like color is not
to confess but to loose.

(The flower is a refugee whom I embrace till total eclipse)

Guido Vermeulen *
March 2004

(*) Sergio is from Brazil, Monica is from Uganda, Guido is from Belgium; is that really important?


"The Bible of hope"


"Hope and the Bible"

by Lois Klassen, Canada

"Hope is a rather small feather"

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all. --

Emily Dickenson

"Playing pain", a performance by Matteo Albertin, Italy, executed in Torreglia, Italy

February 2002

"Pastorale" by Emil Dobriban , Romania

"When trees bleed it is too late to bring me flowers" by Guilherme Conde, Brazil

The bearer of this ticket

is entitled to a lifetime

free of pain

(not valid outside the US)

Bonita Sennott, USA

Love Poem

by Tulio Restrepo, Colombia

John Held Jr, USA

"Comment on the average hygiene of the heart" by François De Coninck, Belgium

"Poem from the heart" by Tamara Wyndham, USA

"The heart: between pain and joy" by Meg Taney Founds, USA

"Life or how to lift pain by love" by Marilyn Dammann, USA