SESSION 3 – Art, Conflict and Civil Society


Art is a universal and powerful mean of communication. It can be considered even more so in an armed conflict affected situation, where art’s multifaceted potential can be used to convey the unheard voices of many stakeholders. A work of art can express people’s cultural identity, it can address people’s suffering, it can give form to a message of peace or support, it can be used to appeal the public opinion for recovery from armed conflict affected areas.

This panel, having as keywords art, heritage, conflict and civil society, aims at shedding light on the initiatives undertaken by creators, artists and performers to answer questions, such as:

What is the role that an artwork can play in an armed conflict related area? How can art contribute to mitigate people’s distress? How can art work at the level of consciousness, raising people’s awareness where heritage is a target of armed conflict? How do art related professionals help communities in their efforts to recover from destruction? How can art contribute to convey the right narrative for armed conflict affected heritage?


Rafiq Kathwari – Winner, Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.  Kashmiri-American activist
Rafiq is the first non-Irish recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award. He obtained an M.A. in political science from the New School University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. His new collection of poems is “My Mother’s Scribe” (Yoda Press 2020). He divides his time between New York, Dublin, and Kashmir where he was born and raised and where in the 1960s he was jailed for several months for his political activism.

Faustin Linyekula – Dancer, choreographer, storyteller. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Faustin tells his stories through writing, theatre, dance, still or moving images. He toured in theatres, festivals and museums across Europe, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, was Artista na Cidade (artist in the city) of Lisbon (2016), co-associate artist for Holland Festival (2019) and has received many awards, including the CurryStone Design Prize (2014) and the Tällberg / Eliasson Global Leadership Prize (2019). In 2001, he founded Studios Kabako.

Omer Qais – Sculptor, Iraq
Omer is a sculpture artist from Iraq, born and raised in Mosul. Graduated from the College of Fine Arts, Drawing Department, the University of Mosul in 2008, he currently works as a drawing teacher in a high school in the countryside of the city. Among other artworks, his artistic career includes 4 big-scale statues and 3 personal exhibitions.

Shyrine Ziadeh – Founder, Ramallah Ballet Center – Dance School (2011, Palestine)
Shyrine, born in Jerusalem, has International Masters in Dance Heritage Knowledge and Practice as well as a B.A. in Business Administration from Birziet University, and is an active member of the International Dance Council (CID) at the UNESCO. She is also an alumni of both ASHOKA network (changemakerexchange) and She Entrepreneur by the Swedish Institute, and has been researching the power of creative movement in Karatepe refugee camp and Moria Camp in Lesbos Island.


Opening and welcoming remarks
12:00 Mizuko Ugo – ‘Heritage in Conflict’ team Co-Convener
12:00 Giovanni Fontana Antonelli – ‘Heritage in Conflict’ team Coordinator

12:10 Rafiq Kathwari – The Human Cost of the Kashmir Dispute
12:25 Faustin Linyekula – [tentative] Art as a space where re-imagining possibilities
12:40 Omer Qais – Vision for the future of Mosul. Art and Society
12:55 Shyrine Ziadeh – Dabkeh as a powerful tool to safeguard our intangible heritage

13:10 Q&A

Summary of the Session
13:25 Vanessa Fraga Prol – ‘Heritage in Conflict’ team Moderator

Photo credit: Giovanni Fontana Antonelli