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 Coexistance 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 famous and therefore all uniting explains 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 her on Wednesday afternoon.
Art as a universal language
As Denise Schmitz from the Netherlands, founder of We Love Art, advised some of the artists on how to give more depth to Monna’s smile, Zahra explained 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, explains Zahra, “and here we do this through art”.
Document on Human Fraternity
The live painting does 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 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, explains 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”.
“Colour connects us!”, added Denise, and it makes us free, breaking us away from boundaries and selfimposed ruleds.. it knows no religion or gender. When we paint we are all the same and our differences are our strengths. “There are few rules in art, and the great artists have taught us that even those rules are there to be broken”.