Narnia Art Miles Mural

This mural was created by the children from the sporting club in Egypt depicting the Great Pyramids of Giza

murale02.jpg (108643 byte)



Miles of murals for peace

A new pyramid of peace will soon rise up over the Nile.



Miles of murals for peace

A new pyramid of peace will soon rise up over the Nile. Anayat Durrani gasps in awemuralegypt.jpg (58824 byte)

Art Miles began with a humble aim to offer an empty canvas to children and adults of the world in an effort to promote peace and harmony through mural art. Thirteen years on, the organisation has coordinated over 4,000 murals created by over half a million people from more than 100 countries. This mammoth celebration was launched this week in Egypt to mark the International Day of Peace.

The murals have 12 specific themes -- multicultural diversity, environment, sports, music, women, senior, celebrity, fairy tale, peace, unity and healing, mentor, and indigenous peoples. Each of these murals created over 13 years measures 12 feet by five feet. By the end of the year, the group plans to have all the murals assembled into a massive "Muramid" that consists of digitised murals to form a skin for a pyramid structure that will float down the River Nile, designed by Tarek Naga, senior architect for the restructuring of the Giza Plateau.

"We dreamt that art was a language that could cross all barriers, that perhaps even the hardest of hearts would understand how a picture is worth more than a thousand words," said Joanne Tawfilis, who along with husband Fouad, are the founders of the Art Miles Project.

The Art Miles Project began in 1997 in Bosnia when Joanne worked with orphans in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina "on a bullet-riddled bedsheet where 350 orphans painted the first mural after five days of discussion, crying, grieving and building consensus."

Since then the Tawfilis have travelled the world and have done murals with people from the four corners of the globe, from tribes in remote areas to displaced peoples to survivors of natural and human disasters. Through countless volunteers they have organised groups to coordinate and create murals abroad including in war-torn areas and have provided much of the art materials themselves.

The Iraqi Children's Art Exchange (ICAE) coordinated the Iraq Art Mile partnering with three Iraqi artists to create a series of murals painted by Iraqi and American children and youth with the working title: How Will They Know Us?

"The murals were an opportunity for youth on both 'sides' of the huge cultural, political and language divide to tell the 'others' who they were," said Claudia Lefko, founder and director of ICAE. "All the painters and collaborating artists felt very inspired, and moved to be part of this worldwide expression of peace and non-violence in the world."

Through the International Education and Research Network (iEarn) and coordinator Manal Fitiani, Palestinian children from schools in East Jerusalem have created powerful murals about Jerusalem. "They drew through different eyes; one as a religious ancient holy land, others as a peaceful land, and in other murals as a mother who carries all the pains, dreams and tears," said Fitiani.

A mural called "Palestinian woman" was created by students and their art teacher at Al-Quds Preparatory school for girls in the Old City, Jerusalem. Fitiani said the students from the school come from large families who live in small homes inside the wall of the Old City so that they can retain their Jerusalem ID. She said these families face severe social and economic hardships. The mural depicts life inside the wall that surrounds their city and is painted with symbols of their culture and dreams.

Disabled students in special education schools also contributed to several murals, most about the environment, peace, and other themes. In many instances, the mural projects have served as a source of expression and healing.

"I found the mural art project to be very important for our children to express their feelings and their dreams. This is a big chance to get others to know and understand their suffering and send a peaceful message to other children in the world," said Fitiani. "This piece of art carries in its lines and colours lots of symbols, and messages to the world. Art is an international language that all people can understand and feel."

Murals were also created throughout the US, including murals by Iraqi refugees in Troy, New York and a peace mural by the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition in Carlsbad, California.

Students at Van R Butler Elementary in Santa Rosa, Florida have completed 13 murals in the past three years for Art Miles. They have worked as partners creating murals through the International Intercultural Mural Exchange for the past two years.

"We have completed paintings with children from Japan and Abu Dhabi. The themes for the painting were peace, culture and compassion," said art teacher Constance Rogers. "If our children realise how similar our feelings and lives are, how can we not learn to see we are all part of one big global family?"

The Tawfilis say the Art Miles Project is really about building bridges of friendship and understanding between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. A strong focus is on mural participation by children of the world. Joanne calls the murals "peace building with children" and said the collection of over 4,000 murals "is a monumental visual piece of history in the making by those concerned about issues involving environment, women and children's rights, and other social issues plaguing our planet."

Fauzia Minallah, director of Funkor Childart Centre in Islamabad, has done several murals with Art Miles. "Some of them are very special, for example, the mural that was painted in the shanty town of Islamabad and displayed at the 'Concert of Hope' in New York," said Minallah. "And now recently the one started by Pakistani children and finished by Austrian children through the Art Mile Austria coordinator Maria Bader who after this connection raised funds for the flood victims of Pakistan. Art Miles Mural Project is a beautiful project that gives 'hope' in these dark times."

Minallah and her students also worked on a joint mural between Pakistani and Italian children that was started in Islamabad and completed by Italian students at the Albornoz's Fortress of Narni, Italy. Guiseppe Fortunati, an Italian computer teacher, coordinated the event in the city of Narni. The town of Narni inspired CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and is a theme depicted in many of the murals created by his students.

"We like creating Art Miles projects and many students in Narni, Italy and in many others schools have the opportunity to work together and also through the Internet to create murals and peace canvases," said Fortunati, who has also done a mural exchange with students in Japan.

Joanne, a retired United Nations executive, was chosen out of 3,000 by Oprah Winfrey to be one of "80 Leaders that Can Change the World". Her tireless work is an inspiration to the many lives she has touched in her travels. Through the Tawfilis's passion, the Art Miles Murals Project has connected millions worldwide and has become the artistic symbol of peace they had envisioned 13 years earlier.

"I am in awe of Joanne and Fouad and their commitment to bring peace through art to all the children in the world," said Marci Brewster, a teacher at West Jefferson Middle School in Conifer, Colorado, whose school contributed three murals. "When you start to see how global this all really is and the music, art, and stories that are told, then one is truly inspired."


Murales per la fantasia.


Murales Fauzia


Japan BBS



Video murales in Italy



© Narnia site is maintained by fans and is in no way connected to Walden Media,
Walt Disney Pictures, or the C.S. Lewis Estate.
All copyrights are held by their respective owners.
The Narnia italian logo and page design are copyright © 2003-2011.



See also :

International Education
and Resource Network

     Murales e Disegni  


          Narnia iEARN Nelle scuole 


Ideazione e progettazione Giuseppe Fortunati - grafic by Erik Pettinari
© Narnia site is maintained by fans and is in no way connected to Walden Media,
Walt Disney Pictures, or the C.S. Lewis Estate.
All copyrights are held by their respective owners.
The Narnia italian logo and page design are copyright © 2003-2009.





narniagoogle.jpg (12655 byte)