Art Builds Peace

 
An exhibition raises social awareness and funds for refugee families - "The other, Another Me - Breaking Down The Walls of Indifference"

The Other Another Me 2An art exhibit with the theme “The other, Another Me – Breaking Down The Walls of Indifference” took place in Dallas, Texas last May.  It was a collaboration of 12 artists who donated their art to raise funds to help families in countries of war. There was a wide variety of lifestyles and beliefs among the artists, and at the same time the desire of each one to be part of something in the service of humanity.

“I wanted to give the possibility for people to take home something that would remind them that we are all connected,” said Joelma Regis, the artist behind the creation. “‘We live our happy lives here and don’t think that there are other human beings suffering somewhere else’’.

Regis believes that to help those suffering across the world, change needs to first begin in the heart. “Many times we act in a superficial way. We might be polite but without really caring what is going on with the other person. This is on a small scale, but indifference leads to bigger issues.”

The Other Another Me 1One of the artists, a photojournalist, lived in Iraq for a year during the war in 2003 and was amazed to see that “this exhibition brought out the widest possible variety of people – which is not usual for this university…” She said that such an initiative “is very important for artists and for humans to participate in”, stressing that she had tried to do this in her work place with Iraqi people.

Collaborating with 11 other local artists who made their own contributions, Regis pointed out the beauty of the team effort. “We were a group of very different backgrounds  and beliefs. “It was inspiring to see those people doing something for the  same cause.”

Brett Dyer, a professor of art at North Lake  College,  helped  devise  ideas with Regis on how to implement both art and humanitarian work together. “Joelma’s exhibit  title, ‘The Other Another Me,’ reminds us we are all  spiritual beings, and what we do and don’t do affects all of us. I think seeing past borders, languages, religions, cultures and our physical bodies are the biggest challenge or test given to us by the higher powers at hands.’’

The Other Another Me 3