Painting for Human Fraternity: a portrayal of peaceful coexistence
By Francesca Merlo - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Live painting as a portrayal of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. This was the concept behind a session organised by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence in collaboration with "We Love Art" in the Emirati pavilion at the Dubai 2020 Expo.
It is one of many events taking place during a Festival organised by the Ministry and the High Commission of Human Fraternity in the lead up to International Day of Human Fraternity, marked on 4 February.
From looking to painting
Around 20 young people gathered to replicating their own versions of the same three works of art.
All three are famous artworks, and are therefore all uniting, said Zahra Khalifa, from the Ministry of Tolerance. Just as people travel from all over the world to visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, people from all over the world gathered to paint with her on Wednesday afternoon.
Art as a universal language
Denise Schmitz from the Netherlands, founder of "We Love Art", advised some of the artists on how to give more depth to Mona’s smile, and explained how art acts as a bridge between cultures.
Zahra pointed out that “art is a universal language” and that through this live painting session they aimed to “extend tolerance to all living beings.”
"Live painting for human fraternity" was the name of the event, with the Arabic word “lamasat” (to touch) as its slogan. It means being in contact and feeling each other, explained Zahra, “and here we do this through art.”
Document on Human Fraternity
The live painting session did in fact promote the themes announced in the Document of Human Fraternity, signed on 4 February by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Francis: peace, freedom of belief, tolerance, ethics, protection of places of worship, and so many more.
The ongoing festival, with the work of these young people of different religions, seeks to embody and portray the concept of Human Fraternity and tolerance.
The true meaning of tolerance
But tolerance is not the capacity of holding on to something that you disagree with, explained Zahra. It is a synonym of fraternity and is about the capacity of moulding from tolerant to accept, and growing to be curious of the cultures that surround you.
“That is the only way the world can advance”, and it can only be done “if we join forces”.
“There are few rules in art, she said, "and the great artists have taught us that even those rules are there to be broken”