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BAM in a Box
an article by Joanne Tawfilis

The Avenida Culture of Peace Galleria, located in Vienna, Austria was founded by my husband and me to support the UNESCO Decade of the Culture of Peace. We recently hosted an art exhibition sponsored by the Science and Art Foundation in Tehran,Iran. The exhibition consisted of over 200 drawings and 40 photographs by and of children survivors of the devastating earthquake that took place in the historic city of Bam, Iran on December 26, 2003. Over 30,000 people that lived in traditional and mud-brick homes were killed and the city flattened (see exhibition website).

The people of the world responded with wonderful support and aid with an attempt to help quell the sorrow and loss, as done with so many expressions of humanitarian aid. However, when all emergency methods seem to be over, we simply go on to the next emergency, now seen with floods in Bangladesh and massive problems in Sudan.

This is where the arrival "Bam in a Box", or the work by surviving children touched us so deeply. Inside we could see the imprint of the children's experiences from the deep loss of family and friends, yet in most renderings,there could still be found the rays of sunshine in their bright and shining hearts to paint their pictures of hope for a positive future. The radiant smiles of children holding brushes were a simple reflection of the children's ability to overcome trauma, pain, and loss. Their optimism seemed infectious evoking soothing thoughts in our minds. Was "Bam in a Box" a simple reminder that it is after all, the world's children who are our hope for a positive future?

Avenida Culture of Peace Galleria welcomes new ideas for exhibitions that support the Culture of Peace by contacting Joanne Tawfilis at or the Art Miles Mural Project.


Question(s) related to this article:

To the arts crete a basis for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Yes, the arts do create a basis for a culture of peace.
The question I would raise is where are the visual artists who have produced a Guernica like painting of Felluja? Paintings last longer than photographs which are too often fleeting.
Do the poets against the war meet annually?
I caught a bit of an interesting tv show which featured world class artists such as Wole Soyinka speaking in Israel/Palestine about ways to further the peace movement there. Did anyone else see the entire show?
I hope a local Peace Day could emulate the UN opening ceremony .

This report was posted on August 12, 2004.