Milan 9-14 October 2015
In Italy the opening of the exhibition “Arte per la Pace – Women and their Olive Trees” took place in Milan on the 9th of October 2015 at the VIP room of the Israel Pavilion at Universal Exposition. Sixteen paintings and short biographies of the artists were displayed. Five of the thirty five participants came from Israel to Italy to be part of the joyous moment. Sheila Dvore Casdi, who conceived the project some years ago, was among them. The General Commissioner of the Israel Pavilion Elazar Cohen has officially opened the exhibition. Ester Israel (President of the ADEI-WIZO Italy) expressed her gratitude to all the people who have contributed for the realization of the event. She explained ADEI-WIZO’s effort and determination to welcome and to present the exhibition in the two largest Italian cities. She introduced each artist to the public and invited them to present themselves in their own language. Irene Goldberg (General Secretary ECWF), Maryan Ismail (spokeswoman of the Somali Community of Milan) and Sara Procaccia (curator of the next opening in Rome) conveyed their deep appreciation for the powerful and promising message of the project. At the conclusion one of the artists, Amal Bisharat Hana, sang a few verses of a song in Arabic thus enhancing the intensity of the moment. On the sunny roof, bread and olive oil were served as a symbol of peace and as an invitation to share thoughts and experiences. The exhibition was open every day from morning until noon. It was visited daily by numerous people from all over the world who were utterly surprised by the singularity of the diverse paintings, stories, cultures and backgrounds that were brought together. Most decided to sign the guest book situated at the entrance. Some left also a message. The impact of this exhibition shines through some moving comments. “This is a gift”, “what a wonderful exhibition and initiative, long may the programme bear fruit”, “many trees of hope”, “one of the most interesting moments at EXPO”. An Israeli lady, before leaving, left a whole megillah – as she humorously put it – addressed to Sheila Casdi. “Dear Sheila, my husband and I, typical Israelis, are traveling in Italy and included the Expo 2015 on our itinerary. Of course, we headed first for the Israeli Pavilion! After our visit, we noticed a quiet staircase leading up to the roof, and wandered up to see if we could eat our kosher tuna sandwiches up there. So we stumbled upon your lovely and wonderful project and paintings. Upon return home, I hope to contact you”. Her description of the scene brings a smile but also makes us realize that life blesses us, sometimes unexpectedly, with inspiring and enriching moments. We just have to recognize and treasure them.