Artist at Falmouth High SchoolLast week Dan Sullivan (Director of Policy & Government Relations) and I travelled to Portland, ME to join Diaspora groups, activists and students from Falmouth High School at the “Illuminating the Beauty and Tragedy of Darfur” art gallery opening. The art gallery opening featured contrasting work representing Darfur’s beauty and its tragic genocide.

Upon arriving at Falmouth High School, Ms. Holly MacEwan, a teacher at Falmouth High School, gave Dan and I a tour of the art exhibit and introduced us to the several artists whose art was directly inspired by El-fadel Arbab, a member of the Sudanese Diaspora living in Maine. El-fadel escaped the genocide and was luckily reunited with his family after a harsh life on the streets in Khartoum for several years. El-fadel now travels the country to speak out against genocide and has also recently released an autobiography titled “My Grandfather Said Climb a Tree and Look for the Light.”

The art exhibit was full of different paintings, El-fadel’s book, Sudanese food, live music and merchandise. The night featured performances from the Malika Sudanese dancers and the Pihcintu Multinational Chorus — a group that comprises children from war-torn villages, refugee camps and countries where there political turmoil and mass atrocities.

Dan addressed the gathering, speaking of his recent trip to Sudan and the lasting impressions he left the Yida refugee camp with. He also spoke about Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s efforts to prevent food and humanitarian aid from reaching the people of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions.

It was thoroughly an honor and a pleasure to witness a creative, informative and lively art exhibit which blended art and politics to raise awareness about the innocent lives being lost in Sudan.

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