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  • Writer's pictureLida Sherafatmand

"Humanitarian Art Manifesto" (2004-2011)

Below is the text of Humanitarian Art Manifesto which was originally written in 2004; by now it has been cited and referenced both by academic and journalistic sources.

Humanitarian Art Manifesto


by Lida Sherafatmand


• The world is changing constantly, and as we respond to the challenges of a society in permanent turmoil, our focus and attention shift to different matters. Today on all continents, there is higher consciousness about: - people’s dignity, fundamental rights and freedoms - the cruelty of wars - the oneness of the human family on a global level. • Artists from all around the world have started to place humanitarian and environmental concerns at the centre of their work. • Such transnational awakening amongst artists, and other people, is impressive in its simultaneousness and warmth. There is a great amount of work to be done in many places, to increase the level of justice and human care on our planet. Yet we need to cherish the little that we have managed to achieve so far, and continue with renewed strength. • Besides artists, it is a delight to acknowledge also: - all people working towards unity in the human family - all people taking care of their daily responsibilities and occupations All such people who are contributing directly and indirectly to peace deserve to be valued and praised. Here is a manifesto to declare and bring to attention the artworks produced passionately by artists dedicated to the happiness of people, as a new movement in art: Humanitarian Art. • In the middle of: - the horror and destruction caused by wars - cruelty - the abuses committed against the human race - discrimination - power imbalance - the growing gap between the rich and the poor - exploitation - the poisonous air produced by violence - unjust military domination suppressing people’s power we the artists, treasure the fresh air of humanity³, and want more and more people to be able to breathe freely. We keep our faith in the human potential for peace and human love. • Seeing wars and injustice still going on, despite of, and contrary to, all the declared Charters on Human Rights and Dignity (including the African charter, the Hindu charter, the Chinese-Asian charter, the Arab-Islamic charter, the Canadian charter, the European Union charter, the American charter, and the United Nations charter), we thought it necessary for us artists to create this branch of art, Humanitarian Art, as a witness to the world and in order to inspire people towards greater unity.

Introduction: • Now more than ever before, we as people from all disciplines and walks of life, need to pull our forces together to make our dream come true, our dream of peace and humanity. • We will not let discouraging news and threats diminish our hope and we will continue advancing on our road towards humanity and peace with increasing courage and passion. • In previous centuries there have been artworks produced on the themes of peace and humanity, but it is the transnational simultaneousness and the fabulous increase in the number of these works, and the dedication of artists focusing on these themes, that makes this a movement now, at the beginning of the 21st century. • We the artists, - place our creative talents at the service of humanity, and share in the sufferings of those under injustice, with the goal of empowering them with hope and energy - use the universal language of art to communicate the beauty of humanity and positive peace - bring to view the need to act with care and compassion instead of inhumanity - speak for, and on behalf of, our fellow artists who cannot exhibit and share their works because of the suppressive rules under which they live; those artists whose lives are in danger. - prompt dialogue among different cultures through our art

Aims and Essence: • The aims of Humanitarian Art are: - to witness - to touch people - to inspire - to give insights - to share - to empathize and express experiences - to understand - to raise consciousness about the environment and our responsibilities towards nature - to bring people closer together based on compassion, understanding, respect, love and harmony - to encourage respect for International Law - to bring out an essential feeling of belonging and oneness with all life. • The essence and focus of Humanitarian Art is: passion for people and life • It is communicative and carries a message intelligible to and felt by the viewer. • It has one main object: the theme of Human Dignity. • It is an art for all people to share and take part in, not just for the artist who has created the artwork • It is an art produced with purity of intention, with love towards others and not for political prestige • It has sincerity as its strength, and is given from one humble soul to the next. • It speaks for the voiceless- exploited persons and peoples whose voices and needs have been suppressed. Definition: • The aims and essence of Humanitarian Art are expressed through: - the spiritual expression reached by abstract art/ists - the vast liberty reached by conceptual/minimalist art/ists - the spatial experience reached by installation art/ists - the representation and interpretation reached by photography/photographers - the visual effects reached by video art/ists - the reality of dreams reached by surrealist art/ists - the visual tenderness reached by impressionist art/ists - the energetic geometrical interpretation reached by cubist art/ists - the sensuality reached by romantic art/ists - the idealization reached by classic art/ists - the accuracy reached by realistic and naturalistic art/ists - the stylization reached by African art/ists - the decorative finesse reached by Oriental art/ists - and the rich traditions created by all visual art/ists • It is an art that appeals to the senses, bringing together colours, shapes, forms and textures through different aesthetic styles, as means and not as ends in themselves. Humanitarian Art inspires us with reasons for waking up in the morning and sleeping at night. It shows us the meaning of our existence together. It expresses and reinforces the interconnectedness of our communities and the human and cultural richness they carry. It breaks through the barriers separating civilizations to nurture the Universal Spirit of our Human Family. It reaffirms a sense of beauty in the world. Humanitarian Art is an eye that sees beyond the surface and strives to find deeper meaning in all things. In this manifesto, the word “humanitarian” has been used according to the Penguin English Dictionary (revised edition 2003) to mean: adj. 1- relating to the promotion of human welfare, or the relief of human suffering. The word “manifesto” has been used according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, (tenth edition 2002) to mean: n. a public declaration of policy and aims. The word “humanity” has been used according to the Concise Dictionary and Thesaurus (third edition 2003) to mean: n. 3- kindness or mercy. The word “peace” has been used according to the TRANSCEND (A Peace and Development Organization for Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means) to mean: the ability to handle conflict with empathy, non-violence and creativity

Artists: Ms. Lida Sherafatmand Painter Malta Dr. Olivier Urbain Blues pianist Founder and Director of the Transcend: Art and Peace Belgium(residing in Japan) Ms. Diane Williams Spiritual Arts U.S.A. Ms. Anna A. Vogt Painter Switzerland(residing in Italyand Switzerland) Mr. Mohammad Iqbal Behleem Singer and Computer musician Pakistan Dr. Marisa Antonaya Writer and Multimedia (web) artist Spain(residing in Thailand) Ms. Misa Kelly Painter, Dancer U.S.A. Mag. Markus Jaeger Writer and singer Austria Ms. Mariko Arai Concepter, and Co-director of CSO Peace Seed Japan Mr. Norihito Arai Actor, and Co-director of CSO Peace Seed Japan Ms. Beatrice Lamwaka Writer, from The Uganda Women Writers Association Uganda Ms. Lynette Bondarchuk (aka Lyn X) Multidisciplinary artist, activist, mother Artistic Director, Edmonton Small Press Association Canada Ms. Tina Ebey Dancer, Director of Pacific Research Centre, Inc. U.S.A. Mr Rais Boneza Writer/Poet Director of Transcend Africa Network Congo (residing in Norway) Mr Govinda Azad Freelance Artist (painter) "21st Century is the Century of Art and Peace" Kathmandu, Nepal Mr Bert Monterona Artist,Peace and Cultural Activist Mindanao,Philippines Ms Ana Montesdeoca Actress Uruguay Mr Paul Choisil Musician Haiti (residing in Canada) Mr Michael Lorefice Visual Artist U.S.A. Ms Maria Cristina Azcona Bilingual Poetess for Peace IFLAC ARGENTINA Director & Universal Peace Ambassador Argentina Mr Ariasmanzo (Luis Arias Manzo) Poet - Writer Secretary General of "Poets of the World" Chile Ms Holly Stevens Storyteller, Writer and Publisher USA Mr Yvan Tetelbom Poet and writer Coordinator of the association "Poets in Paris " France

Ms Halejoetse Tsehlana


Mr Raffi Feghali

Musician and actor


Mr Todd Heller

Song Writer/Musician/Translator


Mr Robert Alfonso

Song Writer/Musician/Translator


Ms Nazanin Afshin-Jam

International Human Rights Activist

Co-Founder and President

Stop Child Executions


Ms Vanecha Roudbaraki


Supportive Group: NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, at the United Nations in Geneva Ms. Maria Elena Lopez Vinader International Director of Music therapists for Peace Argentina Mr. Arun Gandhi Founder and President of M.K.Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence India (residing in U.S.A.) Prof. Johan Galtung Professor of Peace Studies, University of Hawaii, University of Witten/Herdecke, European Peace University, University of Tromsoe. Founder and director of International Peace Research Institute in Oslo Founder and director of TRANSCEND organization Rector of Transcend Peace University Norway Prof. Dr. Dietrich Fischer Academic Director European University Center for Peace Studies (EPU) Stadtschlaining Austria Mr. Stephane Michot President of IDEAL International NGO France Mr. Allan Silberhartz Producer and host of the international spiritual television talk show "Bridging Heaven & Earth" U.S.A.


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