By Athman Amran
The World Peace Art Exhibition made its maiden appearance in Africa by choosing Kenya to honour the late environmentalist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai.
The exhibition, which has visited 24 cities in 16 countries, is showing more than 200 works by renowned Japanese artists. It will run from Wednesday to Saturday at the Nairobi National Museums.
"Kenya is the first country we have exhibited in Africa. There are many issues of natural resources and environment. Prof Maathai believed that peace is the protection of the environment," the chair of the Executive Committee of the International Peace Arts, Mr Hidetoshi Kushida, said during a Press conference.
Kushida said when Maathai visited Japan in 2005, she was impressed by the spirit of Mottainai (a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly used) and she helped promote the word help resolve global environmental issues.
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"It would be wonderful if the Mottainai spirit spread from Japan and Kenya could contribute to a greener earth and strengthen solidarity among human beings," Kushida said.
Ten Japanese artists will also be going around schools to plant trees in honour of Maathai, and to teach children about peace through art.
Kushida said that by planting seeds for peace, they were determined to appeal for the end of war and lasting harmony.
"Japan is rich in trees and has lived in harmony with forests while Kenya has co-existed with savannas and wild animals. The two countries are to learn peace through nature and to be united through art," Kushida said.
He said the world should face nature and spread peace through universal artistic works and expressed appreciation for the continued support and cooperation.
During the official opening yesterday evening, US President Barack Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama, was a special guest. Tomorrow, the museum will host lectures by local scholars.