Winter 2022: FOSTER DIALOGUE. A story of unity and goodwill
On the 24th of February 2022, as the invasion of Ukraine happened, faculty and staff of the Concordia Art Education department reached out to two Ukrainian nationals and ARTE students, Mariia Kovalevska and Elena Zamkovaya. Thus started a conversation... It was a natural reaction, a way to cope with the shock and despair of the moment, the only something that made sense in the senseless event of the war. As bullets and missiles rained on the far land of Ukraine, we held on to the saving grace of respectful dialogue, even if each of us was being affected by the events differently. The intensity of this unfolding turmoil led to our collective response to violence and injustice - the international art project FOSTER DIALOGUE. As the war raged on, Elena decided to leave for Europe, to work at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border and help the Ukrainians fleeing the war. She created a Facebook page where she wrote about her experiences as a volunteer and fundraised for the refugees. Her remarkable journey is filled with stories of hope, empathy, unity, humanity, and goodwill. It became the heart of the project. Meanwhile, Mariia and the art education community globally continued to encourage artful contributions to the cause. More than 30 artists joined in to promote mutually respectful dialogue as a means of building good will and solving conflicts. Together, we defy borders, nationalities, worldviews, and linguistic differences. We speak the common language of art and our message is clear. There is no situation and no conflict that cannot be resolved through diplomacy rather than weapons. If you trust the power of dialogue, welcome to the exhibition. And welcome to the conversation!