April 20 -26, 2011

ATree of peace is being created in Bahrain with leaves dedicated to personal messages and famous quotations from all over the world.

Artist and teacher Seana Mallen, from Awali, has joined forces with five young Bahrainis - Rashid Riaz, Sara Sabt, Perryhan Al Ashmawi, musician Alharith Al Atawi, and Abbas Khalil - to spread a message of love around the kingdom.

The creation of the Peace Tree is being organised as part of the #UniteBH initiative that aims to use the power of art, music and culture to create positive change.

The events start today at the Cultural Hall, next to Bahrain National Museum and will move to Moda Mall tomorrow and to the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday. Emails requesting peace messages have been widely distributed and are pouring in from far flung corners of the world including South Africa, Denmark and Venezuela.

Seana said: "I am not religious but I do firmly believe in the power of thought. I also believe that art can be a force for good in the world.

"Bahrain has been through a tough time and there is a lot of negative energy in the air. Now it is time to think positively and heal the wounds.

"My dream is for everyone in Bahrain to remember a moment of peace and to take another moment to write it down and share it with everyone else.

"I am looking forward to putting it all together into this Peace Tree, which will find a home at Moda Mall and will be a growing and powerful symbol of people's desire for peace.

"There is something about a tree because it is about life, growth. It is for me a perfect symbol of a life made of many parts but coming together as a whole.

"In Bahrain it is about the different people, cultures and communities coming together as one. Through this we will all be connected and can make a collective prayer for peace. I believe it is very powerful." ."

The messages will be painted on heart-shaped leaves of varying sizes and different shades of yellow and green. Seanna said: "People need not be intimidated by writing down thoughts that are deep or philosophical. They can be as simple as 'Peace is cuddling my cats'. It is honest and heart-felt and everyone can really relate to it.

"Personally, a few years ago, peace for me would be when children go to sleep and now, strangely, it is when I am in the plane and I have fastened my seatbelt!

"People can write in any language they choose and I would love to adorn my tree with leaves adorned with different handwritings and in different languages."

Seanna will be at the Cultural Hall today painting leaves and accepting messages. Tomorrow Seanna hopes to make the tree a reality at Moda Mall. She will continue to accept more leaves on Friday at the BIC.

Seana's favourite quotes so far include: 'Peace is realising that as mankind we are the leaves of one tree'.

'Peace is when I see a smile on your face'.

'Peace is when reading a newspaper is not a sad experience'.

'Peace is cool breeze, pillow, nap, Sunday afternoon'.

Readers are invited to email their message beginning with 'Peace is ...' to [email protected]

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