“To Foster Peace in Timor-Leste”: A Unified Community Spirit in the Public Peace Art Initiative
A collaborative endeavor by HWPL and IPYG that brought together the local community
From July to September, HWPL and IPYG joined a collaborative effort to bring a Public Peace Art project to life at the Xanana Sports Center in Dili, the capital of East Timor. This initiative was meticulously crafted to serve as a catalyst for bolstering tourism and enhancing social cohesion within East Timor’s local communities. With the steadfast backing of the government, youth organizations, a local business, and the dedication of volunteers from local art institutions and students, this project reached successful fruition. A dedicated team of over 40 volunteers, comprised of young artists and students, united under the banner of the Youth Engagement & Peacebuilding Working Group (YEPW). Together, they embarked on the transformative journey of adorning a weathered wall with captivating and profoundly meaningful works of art, centered around the theme of “Love and Peace.”
Between 1975 and 1999, East Timor endured a period of Indonesian occupation, marked by a multitude of conflicts and hardships. It wasn’t until 2002 that the nation achieved its hard-fought independence. Nevertheless, as a newly established country, East Timor continues to grapple with an array of challenges, including the intricate process of social recovery, human resource development, and economic growth.
HWPL and IPYG are wholeheartedly engaged in collaborative endeavors with the East Timorese government and local communities, dedicated to fostering a culture of peace while actively contributing to social recovery, unity, and development. IPYG has been particularly focused on addressing pressing concerns affecting both youth and peace, notably issues such as youth unemployment and the scarcity of educational opportunities. These efforts have been channeled through East Timor’s YEPW.
YEPW has been diligently exploring avenues to amalgamate tourism and peace-oriented activities, capitalizing on East Timor’s innate natural beauty to positively influence social development. The Public Peace Art project, with East Timor’s YEPW at its core, garnered involvement from not only YEPW members but also a substantial number of local community participants.
Government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister of East Timor, the Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts, and Culture, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Higher Education, facilitated the allocation of public spaces for Public Peace Art project. Concurrently, a dedicated group of around 40 volunteers, composed of young artists and students, endeavored to imbue Dili’s environment with a sense of peace and hope. This endeavor was made feasible with the generous backing of East Timor’s Vinod Patel company, which provided the substantial quantity of paint required to adorn the expansive 54-meter wall.
Mr. Iliwatu Danabere, the President of Arte Moris, expressed his motivation for volunteering in the HWPL peace mural project as follows: ” It is the best opportunity for us to keep promoting peace through public art, because we believe that peace has to be looked after like a plant with passion and love.”
The Public Peace Art, a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of diverse participants, achieved completion within a mere two months, commencing with a Launching Ceremony on July 31, 2023. These Public Peace Art murals were crafted around the theme of “Love Myself, Love My Family, Love My Country, Love Peace, and Love HWPL.” Through this project, YEPW sought to not only instill East Timorese citizens with love and peace but also to foster unity within the local community and make a positive contribution to urban beautification, with the prospect of subsequently driving urban development and economic value.
Dalzielm, the Student President of Dili Institute of Technology, who participated in the peace mural activity, expressed his thoughts, “It (HWPL Public Peace Art) really brings positivity to Timor-Leste social environment. We are really thankful to HWPL for giving and sharing their expertise.”
In the coming years, HWPL and IPYG will persist in deliberating over strategies for fostering and firmly establishing peace in East Timor. Their commitment to these ideals includes an unwavering partnership with local community stakeholders as they work diligently to make peace a reality. Additionally, they are set to broaden their engagement with the local East Timor community through diverse initiatives, encompassing Public Peace Art projects, interfaith dialogue, and peace education in multiple regions. East Timor’s YEPW will remain a pivotal organization in this endeavor, actively extending its youth network to bolster local community development and the pursuit of peace.