Community Jameel hosts dialogue on the healing power of arts after trauma, marks United Nations 75th anniversary

  • The panel focused on the role of the arts in the Yazidi community’s response to the 2014 genocide.
  • Chaired by Fady Jameel, the panel included representatives from Yazda and the World Health Organisation, as well as the artist Hannah Rose Thomas and Lord Ed Vaizey, former UK culture minister.

This week, on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Community Jameel, in partnership with The Future is Unwritten, a collaboration between arts organisation Culturunners and the World Council of Peoples for the UN, brought together a high-profile dialogue to highlight the innovative use of art to tackle complex health issues. The event explored ground-breaking research into the links between art and health, with a focus on the specific case study relating to the preservation of Yazidi culture following the ISIS genocide in 2014.

This panel served as a positive opportunity to reflect and discuss broader themes prevalent today such as the impact of COVID-19 and how arts and culture can serve to enrich and help our society.

The event was chaired by Fady Jameel, president, International of Community Jameel, and moderated by Katy Wickremesinghe, founder of arts consultancy KTW London. Panellists included:

A wide range of topics were covered during the event, ranging from how philanthropy and intervention can help to re-build and protect cultural heritage and customs, to protecting the ‘voices of the voiceless’ and how art-work and creative practice enables this.

During the event, Fady Jameel noted that “through the power of art, we can support healing, greater understanding, community solace, and hope for the future. Nowhere is this more needed than in post-conflict emergencies, and we have been working with the Yazidi community, who suffered so dreadfully in Iraq in 2014, to understand how documenting culture and delivering arts programmes can support the community’s mental health response to the genocide”.

In 2018-2019, Community Jameel’s sister arts and culture organisation Art Jameel collaborated with the Victoria and Albert Museum, Yazda and Forensic Architecture to produce the multimedia installation ‘Maps of Defiance’, which was part of the Phantom Limb exhibition at Jameel Arts Centre. The work brought together visual materials and data analysis documenting evidence of destruction, genocide and enslavement perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi people in Sinjar, Iraq.

The event also noted the launch of a high-profile ‘Healing Arts’ auction series in partnership with Christie’s and Artnet, supporting the WHO’s COVID-19 response efforts, with a focus on mental health and the applied use of arts in healthcare.

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