PEACE MURAL PROJECT
Art is an ideal way to learn about issues of conflict and peace. It has the power to give shape and colour to feelings and hopes, the ability to communicate across barriers and to help understand one’s own and other people’s culture. Art, in all its forms, offers the opportunity for expression and communication and is particularly helpful to those who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.
Through art we can become better informed and develop the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to make a difference in the world. Art helps us engage our imagination and envisage a more peaceful world in which all people can prosper and live together in harmony. It can help us to highlight problems and solutions and to form a guide to action for a better world.
With some thought and preparation art projects can help young people explore topics which are often overlooked in the school curriculum and can help foster a culture of peace and non-violence. Art projects can be used to explore a wide range of peace issues: from nuclear weapons and global warming to racism and bullying. Some suggestions for your own peace-art project are provided in this booklet.
The process of educating for peace, in art or any other subject, is as important as the content of the learning. This approach requires emphasis on how young people learn as much as what they learn. By bringing children and others together in an atmosphere of co-operation rather than competition, and by ensuring their ideas are valued and contribute to the design, all participants feel empowered and respected. This is reinforced by being involved in the production of the final piece, where participants can develop new skills and the confidence to put their ideas into practice.
Once completed the artwork remains as inspiration for others. It can be used to start discussions and debates or as a reminder to do (or not do) something. It can express celebration, sorrow, change, excitement, solidarity, defiance, openness, reconciliation and much more.
We hope that the PPU peace mural will inspire you to produce your own peace-art (see outside cover) and hope that this booklet will be a useful guide if you decide to do so. Although this booklet chiefly concerns mural art with children you do not have to limit your plans to a mural or young people. You could produce a sculpture, mosaic, collage or ‘graffiti’ piece with any kind of group young or old.