March 24 : Fine Art of Peacemaking – The Aesthetics of War

145 aarde 13-8-2013On the 24th of March, The Hague Peace Projects together with NEST organizes a public discussion themed: “The Fine Art of Peacemaking” (“Vrede is geen Kunst?”). We will invite representatives from two worlds: on the one hand the world of professional art and on the other the world of peace activism. Both activists and many artists are concerned about the world and the society we live in. But not very often do they meet each other to exchange and discuss their views. This meeting will therefore provide an opportunity for the audience to delve into the differences and connections between both worlds.

The theme of this 3rd Fine Art of Peacemaking event is “The Aesthetics of War”: War and beauty have a troubled relationship. Usually war is ugly. But war can also be presented as something beautiful in order to hide the dark episodes of history. Advanced weaponry often looks shiny, strong and powerful. Beauty can be used to cover up the destruction of war, for example when beautiful cities are built on ruins and when heroic stories are made out of the horror of reality. How do artists play with this esthetics, and how could the image of warfare become more realistic?

Chechnya 1The meeting will begin with a presentation of both the work of the artist and a presentation of the work of the peace activist. The first speaker is Oleg Khabibrakhmanov, Chechnyan Human Rights lawyer working for the committee against torture. He is in The Netherlands as a guest of the Movies that Matter Film Festival (18-26 March) and will speak about the way Chechnya is dealing with it’s past of two wars and the way beauty is playing a role in this.

The second speaker is Olphaert den OtterAlthough using an ancient technique in painting (egg tempera) his work is modern on behalf of its content. Feelings of discomfort concerning modern society intermingle with views in other – primitive? – cultures and nature. Catastrophes bring the so called Sublime to modern man. All this is presented in a very precise manner. A timeless atmosphere brings the observer in the right position to be overwhelmed and alarmed at the same time. Spoiled by beauty or filled with fears: it is up to the beholder what happens.

 After their speeches there is room for questions on the themes described above and a debate with the audience.

When: 24 March
Time: 8 PM
Where: NESTDe Constant Rebecqueplein 20B, Den Haag

Entrance fee is 2 euro’s, including a drink. For registration and questions about the event, please contact: Jakob de Jonge,

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