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The awards ceremony was hosted by the UK’s parliament and submissions included two categories – one honouring the Yazidi people in Iraq and another featuring personal depictions of freedom and belief.
Explaining about the work of Bellwether in Ukraine, Iraq and Nigeria, founder and chief executive Rachel Miner said: “Seeing is more than observing – when we see we allow our hearts and minds to be changed by a world we hope to live in and our seeing gives us the obligation to act and to change. A few years ago Bellwether was an idea and today it is a way of seeing the world.”
“It was a huge honour for me to host the inaugural Bellwether International Art Competition in parliament,” commented Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute, who convened the event.
“Bellwether is already planning a similar event for 2023. Equally important was our discussion about religious freedom, human rights and the role of the media. We know we have much to do and a long road ahead, but this event was a wonderful starting point.”
For Mia Sadler, winner of the Honouring the Yazidi category, “it is my hope that my art plays a small role in expanding empathy and understanding, and in galvanizing action to better protect human rights,” she said.
“Art invites us into conversations about issues that are difficult to initiate but vitally important to discuss. Creativity has the power to become a common ground, a way for us all to come together to make a sustainable and lasting difference. There is so much brokenness in our world, but I believe we can use beauty as a form of resistance.”
Embroidery artist and sculptor Almas Khanam Jan from Pakistan, who won first place in the Freedom of Religion or Belief category, added: “Unfortunately our girls are facing many misperceptions and obstacles. I consider myself lucky that my art is hanging on the walls in Great Britain through this platform.
“Many female artists and young people of my land are waiting for such an opportunity. I hope one day every woman will be free to live her life.”
The Faith and Media Initiative shared results from its recent global survey of nearly 10,000 respondents which found 63 percent saying there is a need for high quality content on faith and religion. For more details see https://index.
How to build coalitions of trust between the media and religious freedom sectors will be a key topic for discussion at the new roundtable that Bellwether International is chairing next year.
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