Peace One Day in Kuwait: Interview with the organizer Amira Behbehani

September 20, 2012

Amira Behbehani

We met with Amira Behbehani in her studio to discuss about upcoming event Peace One Day (Friday 21st of September at CAP), about the Art Salon and about how it is difficult sometimes to realize the dreams and how it is necessary to struggle for better changes.

- Amira, the first question is about Art Salon, what is that ? It was mentioned in the invitation like some kind of organization.

- Art Salon is the growing group of creative individuals, artists, musicians and designers, we want to collaborate together, organize exhibitions together. We would like to meet on regular base under one roof, to be able to influence society with our movement and to involve all those creative people who want to change the world. So it is an art, music & design movement dedicated to changing the world. Our members are chosen based on pure talent & intention alone. It’s not relevant what nationality, religion, or gender you are. What matters is that you’ve been blessed with a talent. Our aim is to work from the inner to the outer, so we start with our immediate community in Kuwait.

- Do you have a place where you organize these meetings ?

-Well, for the moment the place is my studio, we start to meet once in a month, now more often because Peace One Day event that we are organizing .
We speak about art in general, new exhibitions, we are trying to discover new talents in Kuwait.
The next idea that we would like to do is to organize an exhibition that involves all members of Art Salon and in this occasion we can present ourselves, and I hope we can plan it first thing after the event Peace One Day.

-Who are the actual members of Art Salon ?

- Shurooq Amin as the founder of the movement, me, Basil Al-Hadi musician, Dalia Al Hadi, she is an interior designer, Sheikha Nafisi is a curator and Shadi Al Hadi, he is a graphic designer, Reza Akavan he is an event & marketing management.

-How you got involved in organizing the event of Peace One Day in Kuwait ?

- Peace One Day is founded by Jeremy Gilley in 1998. It is a charity foundation and this day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is an official day of non-violence and ceasefire recognized by United Nations.
I came across this initiative by accident and I felt that I want to have an event that involves Art & peace together in Kuwait. I spoke to some people at that time but they were not sure about it. This summer in July Me and Shurouq were talking about the Art Salon, So I thought of PEACE ONE DAY and it would be great to do such an event and it would be our first achievement or project you may call it, as Art Salon members. So, I contacted the founder and he was very enthusiastic about my idea, & from there we started contacting the artists and the musicians that we know who has the experience with organizing the events, we started to do the preparations until I discovered that we should have a license for this event.
And that was something made me feel, Am I strong, or believer enough to face this, or would I be able to go through all the hustle around the ministries? But the image of Jeremy who struggled many years going around the world for acceptance of his idea, meetings in the UN for just believing in him never left my mind.. so I said If he can do it, I can do it. I started to meet with different people in various ministries. From December until now it was the period of time necessary to prepare all the documents. At the same time it was the period we were preparing the event speaking with artists, searching for the sponsors and it was quite a secret, we couldn’t announce about it, it was a difficult time for us specially until the last minute we weren’t sure if we will get the license .

I came through so many offices I gathered so many papers with approval stamps, photocopies, papers with signatures from different ministries and people who worked there thought I belong to an organization or so to create such an event and all this struggle that am going through, but when I explained that this is my initiative idea that me & my team are working on it & we don’t belong to any organization, we are just individuals who believe in Peace, art & music and above all this is something we will all benefit from, it surprised them that still there are people who want the struggle & the fight for their country without any personal benefit …

-So, the people you met on different levels for organizing this event, they were on the same wave and they understood the importance of what you are doing ?

Yes, because all of us we need Peace, starting from our families, in our houses and in our countries, The whole planet is seeking for it, it was a must to have such an event in this region.
In the middle of all these difficulties I realized that OMG, this real and big project and I started to think this is not a joke, this is a big responsibility. I had moment when I was crying.
During March I had to travel to London and meet with Jeremy and I confessed that perhaps I wouldn’t be able to conclude the organizing of this event and we didn’t receive the license yet, I was so scared, I didn’t want to show him my fear but I was hinting him just in case we don’t get the license can you accept that we might not be able to raise any funds or so and so .. he just said: don’t let the money stop you, just go ahead, even if you call people in your house and talk about peace, that is enough for us, we want people to know what is peace and bring more awareness about it.
Fortunately, we got the license recently, I was working not thinking even if it doesn’t get issued we are still going ahead, and we are the supporters of Peace One Day in Kuwait and for the first time in the history of this event the celebration will be though an art exhibition to raise awareness about peace.

-How did you choose the artists? Honestly, I don’t remember any call for artists or volunteers.

Because of the license we kept it very low profile and we didn’t make any announcement until all the papers were ready, so mostly participating artists are friends and the people we are in contact, but as it is annual event, for the next year we will organize huge campaign to get more artists involved in such cause.

Peace One Day

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