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Wing Delivers Trans-Atlantic Symbols of Friendship through Mural Project

The Art of Conflict Transformation program unveiled new mural at the Dunbar Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.  It depicts the ideas and aspirations of young people from Mason Square and was painted by around 40 of them along with muralists from Belfast who had come to share their experiences of working to change conditions of injustice and war into a society of equals living in peace.  The program, which is directed by professor Leah Wing, uses art to explore the transition to peace in Northern Ireland/the north of Ireland and the ties it has to lives closer to home. Since 2008, the UMass-based program and its partners have sponsored a variety of activities in the U.S., Ireland, and online.

According to Wing, having artists paint from "both sides" of a conflict can be very moving and bring together community members of all ages across historical divides.  When one young person asked how to say friends in Irish, the muralists shared the story of the claddagh ring and incorporated it into the mural.  Inspired by this cross-cultural and trans-Atlantic art project, the Andersontown Newspaper, based in Belfast, was so encouraged by the sense of unity forged through the artistic expressions that it purchased claddagh rings -- an Irish symbol of friendship -- to distribute to all the U.S. muralists who worked on the Dunbar mural.  They were distributed this summer to a group of enthusiastic new mural artists in Springfield.

For more information about the Art of Conflict Transformation, visit their website at:


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