“When people see the cement road blocks, they see fear. We’re colouring them so that people can see beauty instead”
I live near the site of the explosions. Afterwards, my neighbours were terrified that the suicide attacks would keep happening. Shopkeepers would stand in the street and scrutinize passing cars, saying, ‘Do you think that one’s going to explode? No, it’s leaving’, etc. Quickly, sandbags and cement blocks were set up in the streets to keep outsiders from parking their cars here. When I saw these sad, gray blocks, I decided that they could use some sprucing up. I gathered some of my friends, and we went to a paint shop that had been damaged in one of the blasts. The owners agreed to give us paint for free.When people here see the blocks, they see fear. So we have started colouring them so that people can see beauty instead, and forget the terrorist attacks for a bit. Of course, I’m realistic. I know that paintings don’t prevent explosions, but I do think that art can send a message to terrorists: We will not be ruled by fear. This inspired the Bridge of Colours festival on Sunday, which I also took part in.
“We painted a car that was wrecked in the latest attack”
We invited local artists, as well as artists from around the country and even from Iraq and Syria, of all faiths – Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians, Druzes…There were 45 artists in all, who painted, made music, and read poems all day.One of the highlights of the festival was painting the wreck of a car that had been damaged in the latest attack [Editor’s Note: This was not a car used by the suicide attackers; it was a car parked near the blast site]. The city has gathered all the car wrecks in a lot not far away, from which a group of us pushed the car to the bridge. At the end of the day, once artists and locals had painted it, it was no longer a scary object, but a beautiful one.