The value of something changes depending on the person who uses them.
An ordinary basketball in the hands of a regular player remains to be an ordinary ball. But let that ball fall into the hands of a Michael Jordan, of a Lebron James, or a Stephen Curry, then the value of that ball will surely change.
An ordinary paintbrush in the hands of a regular painter remains just a normal paintbrush. But allow the hands of a Michaelangelo or an Amorsolo use that paintbrush – then, indeed, its value will rise.
For the past several months, we have been at the forefront of organizing youth workshops for the peace and the arts across 9 Municipalities and 2 cities scattered in Mindanao. In these workshops, we have encouraged young people to get hold of paintbrushes and art materials to colorfully illustrate their dreams and aspirations for peace in their different communities. While the value of the art materials may not have risen, we are sure that the colorful art pieces that the young people have designed have brought new hope to these young leaders.
The Peace and Arts workshop is part of our continuing efforts to build better and more resilient communities to support our education work in Mindanao. Under the sponsorship of the Global Centre on Cooperative Security, we at Synergeia Foundation have embarked on a 6-month program aptly called ” Breaking the Ascent of Violent Extremism ( BRAVE ) for the New Generation.” The program focuses on strengthening the leadership skills of the Sangguniang Kabataan leaders to implement activities that will promote peace in their respective communities. Furthermore, to encourage the participation of young people, we purposefully included the promotion of arts and culture in the designed activities. We aim to engage the young people in a lively and youthful manner and encourage them to put forth more ideas and plans for the good of their municipalities.
The workshops have been an excellent platform for young people to describe peace in various forms creatively. Questions on peace include: What is the color of peace? What is the sound of peace? If one can touch peace, what can one feel?
Some displayed their singing and dancing prowess in representing peace’s different colors and sounds. The colors of peace ranged from yellow to green. It is yellow because peace is like the sun that brightens up everyone. It is colored green, just like the color of a peaceful garden.
It sounds like a flowing river or the rustling of leaves, both of which calm a tired mind.
Others presented short skits to show what peace meant in the community. While some even gave a choral rendition of a poem to describe what peace signified.
The workshop gave the youth leaders a chance to display their artistic talents and express their visions for a peaceful community vividly.
Robert Alejandro, an illustrator, a painter, a crafter, and one of the pillars of Filipino arts and crafts shop Papemelroti, facilitated the workshop via a video of a drawing session for the young people. Despite the challenges of following the instructions in the video, the youth leaders still produced beautiful pieces of art for peace.
Their drawings visualized peace where both Christians and Muslims can live in harmony with a church and a mosque side by side in the community. They drew communities where schools flourished, and the environment cared for. They portrayed places where children have a safe space to play and enjoy.
Upon finishing their artwork, the youth leaders promised to make it a reality. They intend to organize the same workshop in their different barangays and invite more young people to share their dreams for peace. What’s next for these young artist-dreamers? With the workshops in our partner communities almost finished, we look forward to the youth festival for peace and the arts that the SK leaders will organize in their respective municipalities. In that festival, we expect to see more young people draw, sing, dance, and act towards establishing peace in their respective communities.