Art as a Tool of Peace Exhibition Launch


PeaceRep and the Global Justice Academy have launched Art as a Tool of Peace, an exhibition of a series of works by young artists from regions of Syria and Yemen whose lives are affected by ongoing conflicts.

The artworks offer a glimpse into the effects of some of the world’s most protracted conflicts on the everyday lives of young people, and the challenges of life during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 70 bookings were made to attend the exhibition launch and reception, which was held at the University of Edinburgh Law School on Wednesday 24 November.

Mashup of photographs taken at the event depicting artworks, the artists, and attendees

The event began with introductory remarks by Yemeni artist Shatha Altowai and PeaceRep researcher Dr Juline Beaujouan, who offered insights into the works and the role of art as a tool for local peace. This was followed by a presentation of the works during a musical performance by Yemeni musician Saber Bamatraf, together with Phil Westwell (uilleann piper and flutist) and Katherine Campbell (cellist). Attendees then had the opportunity to speak with the artists and researchers while viewing the full exhibition during a drinks reception.

Attendees reported that they found the artwork and music very engaging, moving, and thought-provoking. Dr Kasey McCall-Smith (University of Edinburgh) described how the exhibition showcased “Amazing approaches to conflict resolution flowing through to paper & action”. Featured artists also shared their thoughts on the event on Twitter:

Tweet posted by Saber Bamatraf (@BamatrafSaber): So honored to be part of this event. Thank you

Tweet posted by Shatha Altowai (@AltowaiShatha): I couldn't find a suitable word to best describe how honoured I am to know and meet such amazing people. Shukran!

The exhibition’s pieces by Syrian artists were created as part of a research project supported by the FCDO-funded Covid Collective Research Platform at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). In Syria, PeaceRep Research Associate Dr. Juline Beaujouan and colleagues, Abdulah El hafi and Eyas Ghreiz, built on collaborations with local communities in northwest Aleppo to investigate the shifting role of local civil society during the pandemic. 

 Learn more about the artists: 

The exhibition is open to the public and will be on display in the Quad Café at Edinburgh Law School until March 2022. 

Find out more about visiting the exhibition