I decided to interview Avy, who has started a really wonderful project called the Peace, Love and Hope Project.
1. Could you tell us a little about your program, Peace Love and Hope? Peace Love and Hope promotes anti-bullying through art workshops, public presentations, personal story exchanges, outreach programmes and exhibitions. Children are invited to participate in batik workshops, where they are taught the batik techniques and have the opportunity to create individual pieces on the theme of peace, love and hope. The pieces are then assembled into large-scale quilts (will be in 3D shapes in the future) which I organize with others to tour and exhibit at museums, cultural centres, schools and international children’s festivals, raising awareness and visibility for the anti-bullying cause.
2. What is your art background and how did you get started with this program?I'm a visual artist and art educator for the last 20 years. I started this program in my daughter's elementary school in by accident (accidental project, he..he...) after she experienced bullying. She was only 7 years old then. I proposed an art batik project in order to outreach the bully actually. The principal of the school was kind enough to open the door for my idea. After I collected all the children's artwork, I thought to myself: What's next after this? Then I approached a cultural centre and a museum (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) in downtown Montreal to exhibit the children's artwork. My proposal was accepted and the rest is history. You know usually if it has been in the public's eyes already, it will roll as time passes.
3. Is there a way our readers could incorporate these ideas into their classroom or community? Yes, absolutely. You can create any types of artwork (in this case batik artwork) as a tool to educate our children about raising awareness for an anti-bullying cause. We encourage our children to be creative, positive and more compassion rather than to bully their friends. We, as educators and parents are responsible to fill our children's head with something positive, beautiful and meaningful. It is a gift of creating and giving back to our community that make a very good start in their life.