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875 - Art and Peaces Practices in Latin America

20.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30

Convener 1: Facci, Paula Ditzel (none , São Carlos, Brazil)
Convener 2: Lozano, Natalia (none, Bogota, Colombia / Kolumbien)

Latin America’s history, the so called official one - taught in school, is full of examples of exploitative colonialism, armed revolutions and cruel dictatorships. A similar approach is shown on media everyday, where drug traffic and violence seem to be the dominant reality. On the other hand, there is also an association of Latin America with hospitality and warmness, and its correlated easy-goingness and conformation with established situations. Is any or both of these views true? Is there any voice missing? For us it seems to be missing the perspective from the communities and people who make the reality of such a region. Are there only conflictive or conformist interactions, or is there a practice of people trying to build a better society? The idea of this symposium is to discuss other perspectives on Latin America conflicts and practices of peace, to unveil other perspectives which may be covered by official or dominant discourses. Far from denying the existing violent conflicts and violation of human rights, the goal here is to take a look beyond these realities, reaching also the attitudes, proposals and practices to transform the situation.

For such a discussion, it has been chosen a very special point of view: the one taken from arts. The choice of this perspective from arts is justified by the evidence of the potential for transformation that art has intrinsic to its practice, and by the observance of the frequent use of art by people and movements as a mean of communication to reach deeper in the humanity and move that will to transform. We agree with Jean Paul Lederach when he asserts that  Art is what the human hand touches, shapes, and creates and in turn what touches our deeper sense of being, our experience and then shapes, gives expression and meaning to that experience. Peacebuilding has this same artistic quality. It must experience, envision, and give birth to the web of relationships. (Lederach, 2005:34)  

In essence, this perspective was chosen because of the deeper belief that arts have the potential to enhance conflict transformation and practice of peace. In this frame it is important to emphasize that the base for such a discussion is the perspective of peace developed by Wolfgang Dietrich and Wolfgang Sützl, for whom peace must be understood beyond the common interpretation of it as standing on the opposite side of war. Peace in their perspective is more than absence, it is presence and it is a practice (Dietrich & Sützl, 2006: 293). In so doing, it results that peace can be experienced in innumerable different ways, therefore, peace, in reality, are peaces. Peaces are actions, rather than a desirable unattainable object, and as actions they can be incomplete and imperfect, but at the same time they can be experienced and have the power to promote transformation of conflicts and oppressive situations. Therefore, the objective of this symposium is to promote a debate on how arts are being used, experienced and promoted as a tool to transform conflicts and oppressive situations practicing peace in the region.  

Lederach, J. P. (2005) The moral imagination: the art and soul of building peace. New York: Oxford University Press 

Dietrich, W. & Sützl, W. (2006) “A call for many peaces”, in Schlüsseltexte der friedenforschung, eds W Dietrich, J Echavarría & N Koppensteiner, Wien, LIT.

Keywords: Peace Art Latin America Practice Culture

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