International Alert’s Talking Peace Festival kicked off on the International Day of Peace on 21 September with a series of stunning mural paintings in cities affected by conflict around the world.
Street artists teamed up with local communities in Beirut (Lebanon), Berdyansk (Ukraine), Davao City (Philippines) and Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC) to work on the paintings, which were all inspired by their collective hopes and vision for peace.
Syrian artist Tarek Tuma also painted a canvas live during the launch of our Create Syria installation in London (UK).
Uganda will join the campaign from Saturday 24 September when a peace-themed mural will be painted and livestreamed from Kampala.
How the day unfolded: #ART4PEACE in pictures
In Beirut, where the Syria refugee crisis is putting a strain on community relations, local artist Ghaleb Hawila used calligraphy to unveil our new logo in style.
Alert’s Country Manager Chiara Butti commented:
“We chose our new logo for the mural as it portrays a classic image of peace combined with a human touch. The open hand is encouraging collaboration and the dove represents hope. This mural will reflect the message that peace is within our reach. That peace is a possibility.”
The campaign then spread from Beirut to Berdyansk, a coastal city in south-eastern Ukraine lying close to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions which also hosts many refugees fleeing the conflict there.
Artist Nikolai Shevchenko worked with local students, volunteers and community group First Anticafe of Berdyansk to paint a ‘Harbour of Peace’.
Meanwhile in Davao City, the Philippines, artists took to Freedom Park to collaborate on a large-scale mural depicting the ‘Colours of Peace.’ This was accompanied with an open-mic session for musicians and spoken-word poets.
The mural is also being digitized and uploaded onto our Cyber Peace Project website, which aims to promote peace and non-violence on social media.
In Goma, DRC, we joined up with cultural group Yole!Africa, who together with local artists and Association des Femmes des Medias du Sud Kivu (AFEM), a partner of our Tushiriki wote project, painted a mural illustrating their collective vision of ‘peace for all’.
Fighting in DRC continues despite numerous peace agreements, with the most recent clashes breaking out in Kinshasa. However Peace Day was an opportunity to celebrate hope for a future free from violence, and there was street dancing while the mural was being painted.
The live art continued later on Peace Day in London, where Syrian painter Tarek Tuma painted a canvas at the launch of Alert’s Create Syria installation. Tuma’s works are all inspired by photos and stories of people in his home city of Douma, close to Damascus, which has been a major flashpoint during the Syria civil war.
Italian artist Carolina Maggio also painted a huge canvas of Alert’s new logo. Visitors, including (left to right) actress Trudie Goodwin, singer La Roux, actress Adjoa Andoh and comedian Jeremy Hardy added their handprints to the canvas over the course of the evening as part of our #HandofPeace campaign.
Look back at live footage of all the events on our social media pages and by following the hashtag #ART4PEACE.
Photos © International Alert (2016)
Beirut video © Ali Ali Hamouch (2016)
Goma video © Gaïus Kowene (2016)