Peace Reflected Artistically in North Africa

North Africa, Summer 2007
Author Not Disclosed OM Artslink - North Africa

This unique excursion was deemed an experiment of creating a platform for collaboration between the artists and art-appreciating adventurers who attended.

God divinely led this mixture of artists and adventurers to a traditional town in North Africa to work together in sowing seed where no church exists presently.

The group ended up living with a generous farmer and his family. Despite having less privacy, living with a Muslim family allowed the group to bond closely with locals and gather a deeper insight into the culture.

Mornings were spent in prayer and planning under peaceful olive trees. Daytime was for meeting people, gathering stories and creating art in a studio space the group was given through a spacious classroom at a local university.

The group focused their artwork on celebrating the unique cultural qualities of the host city. After learning as much as possible, the group attempted to produce artwork mirroring the dignity and beauty of the people. Much of the art created being inspired by the family with whom the group stayed!

During work hours at the "studio," students and professors would drop by to chat. Shortly after the group arrived on campus, a young man, fluent in English, animatedly approached them. He was so excited to meet other artists as he himself is one. He went on to share how he feels lonely and rejected on a personal and artistic level. It was obvious that he lacks peace and is searching for something. After a few conversations with him, one of the artists suggested that he might find peace by reading the Bible. Initially, he refused. However, as time went on, he was moved by the peace he observed in the artists creating around him and the lack in his own life. By the end, he wanted to read the Bible.

OM Artslink - North Africa

The varied artistic work exhibited celebrated a unique aspect of the city and culture, thus sparking conversation. A couple pieces even included portions of Scripture in the local language, which piqued interest, especially as most spectators had never read the Bible. The opening day, 500 people from the university and community walked through the exhibit; on the second day, again, there were more than 500 visitors! The non-threatening atmosphere was a perfect forum for building bridges and earning the right through relationship to share faith. This is thrilling as a goal from the beginning was to see long-term ministry inspired in this region.

Another student who was touched deeply through contact with the arts group would have seemed the last person to be gregariously interested in a group of foreigners. She chooses to wear the most strict form of dress for women-the black hijab from head to foot. Even though most women wear at least head scarves and dress modestly in this traditional town, she stands out as a very conservative Muslim. She, however, was thrilled to meet foreigners and to make friends with the young women in the arts group. She was shocked to see an art exhibit focused on celebrating her people instead of western centered work. As the group said their goodbyes, this young woman cried and was one of many who begged the group to return next year.

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