On one side of the river, John Lennon sits cross-legged next to an acoustic guitar. To his left, former U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln stand side-by-side and gaze into the distance.
The three men, who are joined by 17 other historical figures from across the globe, comprise “Satyagraha: Martyrs for Peace and Justice,” a 2005 painting depicting a group of peacemakers and named after a term employed by Gandhi meaning “firm resistance in non-violence.”
The watercolor painting greeted students at Soka University for nearly a decade, but went missing more than a year ago, prompting the university to send an all-campus memo in April 2016 asking if anyone had seen it.
“All of a sudden it wasn’t on the wall” said Wendy Harder, director of community relations at Soka University.
The painting was re-discovered sitting in a closet in August and has gone back on display in the university’s dining hall, Harder said.
“My best guess is that it was taken down to take care of it,” she said.
Tim Leedom, a Newport Beach resident who commissioned the artwork, spoke about the painting’s inspiration after it was re-discovered.
“Each one of these people is a visionary,” Leedom said. “I think in a certain period of time, they could have made a big difference if they had lived.”
His connection to one of the painting’s figures, Robert F. Kennedy, goes back decades.
As a student at the University of Hawaii, Leedom supported the late Kennedy’s…