Almost five years after a siege turned most parts of Marawi City into rubbles, the Islamic City in Mindanao once again abounds in hope and peace, most prominently from the younger generation expressed through art.
Synergeia Foundation, an NGO that champions good local governance, organized with the city an arts and culture festival last month under the project “Brave for the New Generation”. It aims to empower the youth to participate actively in peace-building and planning within the community. The Sangguniang Kabataan leaders had their first workshop on peace promotion in December 2021.
This artwork by Abdurrahman of Marawi National High School won the contest. For him, peace is a picture of a family that goes through struggles together and helping each other. “Para sa akin, parang isang masaganang pamilya na kung saan makikita ang saya ng pagsasama, kahit ano’ng mga dumarating na problema ay nagkakaisa at nagtutulungan,” wrote Abdurrahman.
Like other entrants, he described peace as the calm nature offers with birds chirping and rivers flowing. Being children as they are, Abdurrahman and other contestants tasted peace to be as sweet as sugar that makes perfect coffee.
Abdurrahman added “Kung masusunod lang ang nakasulat sa Qur’an at Hadith ay makakamit natin ang mapayapang pamumuhay ditto sa mundo.” He explained how in life you add “sweeteners” to be peaceful which is also brought by the Qur’an and Hadith when held close to one’s heart.
Another artwork was made by Princess of Bacarat Memorial National High School. She was inspired peaceful relationships people of different religions. For her, peace is a basic need like water, and is the relaxing sound of rustling dried leaves. “Ang tubig ay pangunahing pangangailangan ng mga tao. Parang kapayapaan, kailangan rin ito ng bawat tao o relihiyon. At ang paligid na puro mga puno at dahon ay nakakalma ng ating pag-iisip,” shared Princess.
The artwork by Rhyza of Bacarat Memorial National High School likened peace to a cake. She highlighted the baking process where time and effort is spent saying “Parang katulad lang ng kapayapaan, mahirap itong gawin, mahabang proseso pero sobrang worth it sa huli.”
Like a domino, she thought peace as a result of balance and of respect among communities. She explained “Para sa akin ang kapayapaan ay ang pag respeto sa kapwa tao ano man ang paniniwala, relihiyon, kasarian, kulay o saan man sa mundo sila nanggagaling. Kung hindi, tulad ng domino, ito ay guguho.”
For this set of artworks, Sohaira of Bacarat Memorial National High School symbolizes peace as a bird with the freedom to fly and it nests on trees, it is the slow and steady falling of leaves. If peace can be tasted, is the longing for food that’s filling the room with its aroma that delights and lightens the soul.
“Alamo yung matagal mong inaantay na maluto at pagkinain mo na ay sobrang sarap. Ito yung paborito mong ulam,” said Sohaira adding “Kung ito’y mahahawakan, para saakin para itong isang trophy.” Peace is an award, a trophy.