Pakistan is currently enduring one of the harshest natural disasters in recent memory. Unusually heavy monsoon rains that began in July blanketed the nation, leaving more than 2,000 dead and more than 21 million injured or homeless. Ali Sana ’13 came to Hobart and William Smith from Islamabad, Pakistan, where he attended Roots College International. In 2007, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that claimed more than 50 innocent lives a stone’s throw from his school, Sana established the Roots Arts Council, which attempts to create lasting peace through creative works and expressions that are sold to fund NGOs helping those affected by terrorist attacks. This year, Peace Brushes is turning its attention to the more dire necessity of aiding the victims of this summer’s flood.
“Once something interferes with your day-to-day life it causes you to become active,” says Sana, speaking of the terrorist attack that motivated him to form Peace Brushes. At Hobart, he was joined in his efforts by Matthew Hynd ’13.
Last week, Sana and Hynd placed two conceivably large orders of posters, printed in Pakistan from the original artwork created in response to the terrorist attack in 2007. They planned to sell them for a week to raise funds for the flood victims. By halfway through the second day, they were sold out and had raised more than $400 -funding that goes directly to those in need.
Sana emphasizes that Peace Brushes is “involving.” It takes the artist and the viewer, as well as Sana bringing the two together, to create the funding effort; in this way it is also a creative enterprise. Most importantly, he notes it is all based around a young community: the artists, the people who are purchasing the art, and the people whose awareness is elevated even if they have not given anything. It is an effective way to get young people involved with important social issues.
Sana and Hynd hope that later in the semester students might be able to contribute their own work, through the Art Department, to Peace Brushes so they could not only experience the art of peace and support, but create it as well.
Peace Brushes posters will be available in the Scandling Campus Center at the lunch and dinner hours, through Thursday, Sept. 9. Posters are also available on the Peace Brushes website, www.peacebrushes.org, which is currently being updated. The online store will soon have more added content and functionality.
Additionally, this weekend there will be two events focusing on supporting Pakistan in its moment of need. Project Nur will host a kite flying festival on the Friday, Sept. 10, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Quad, as well as a dinner celebrating the end of Ramadan.