Painters from the Middle East and North Africa Region donated artwork to the International Peace Institute for the Middle East and North Africa (IPI-MENA) during an “Art for Peace” exhibition hosted in collaboration with Wedad Al Bakr, a Saudi painter and peace advocate.
Zakeya Zada, a Bahraini artist, cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the exhibition—dedicated to addressing the growing need for peace and stability in the MENA region and beyond—on April 2nd in Manama.
Artistic compositions representing unique renditions of peace were showcased by prominent painters, which included Mayasa Al Sowaidi, Zakeya Zada, Dawiya Ebrahim, Thajba Najeeb, Wedad Al Bakr, Ali Almahmeed, Abbas Almosawi, Abderrazak Hamouda, and Ebrahim Busaad.
The event was inaugurated by Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, Wedad Al Bakr and the donor painters.
The works, donated to IPI-MENA as a token of dedication of the artists’ commitment to advocating peace, were signed by the painters—5 women and 4 men—who devoted their talents and skills as canvas to illustrate the ever-increasing necessity of comprehensive and lasting peace.
The exhibition, attended by diplomats, senior officials, artists, academics, media and members of civil society involved a discussion and exchange around art inspiring, reinforcing and mobilizing global efforts of peace, tolerance and sustainable development.
Abderrazak Hamouda, Tunisian-Swiss calligrapher, quoted Syrian poet Adonis, asking, “How can we write poetry about peace, if we are not living in peace?” He stated that this provided the inspiration behind his calligraphy of “I hope Peace” on canvas, which he donated to IPI-MENA.
Ali Almahmeed, Painter and President of the Bahrain Arts Society, said “donating my peace-inspired paintings to the IPI is in line with my conviction that all efforts should contribute to the culture of peace.”
Thajba Najeeb elaborated on how her paintings reflected an “internal struggle for peace, and that we need to start within ourselves” in order to spread a like-minded global philosophy.
Dawiya Ebrahim stated that her painting was “inspired by the need to help peace to prevail in the region and beyond amid the many conflicts tearing up the MENA region.”
Abbas Almosawi said “our combat for peace requires our artworks as weapons.”
Saudi painter Wedad Al Bakr hailed her team of painters “for accepting the opportunity to act as peace messengers.”
The artists voiced their appreciation to IPI-MENA for providing a platform that effectively brought like-minded talents to share a vision and understanding of regional peace challenges through artwork, and to inspire and encourage new generations to find ways in which to contribute to sustainable peace.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Friji expressed his sincere gratitude to the artists for bringing “beauty at the service of peace and connecting the world of art and the world of policy-making and research to create a better, safer and more tolerant world for all of us.” He also stated that the artwork donated “will create the first permanent art collection dedicated to peace at the International Peace Institute.”