Paintings of peace and unity on display

29 February 2004

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Peace and unity were themes of paintings in an exhibition by a Baha'i artist at a prestigious venue here.

Uruguayan artist Sima Baher titled the exhibition "The Earth Is But One Country," an excerpt from a quotation by Baha'u'llah.

Sponsored by the embassy of Uruguay in Argentina, the exhibition opened at the Borges Cultural Center.

Simultaneously with Ms. Baher's exhibition, the gallery featured works by Salvador Dali and is now displaying images by renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Launching Ms. Baher's exhibition, Uruguayan author and radio presenter Angela Caceres spoke about the importance of peace and unity, the principles that inspired the paintings.

"Peace and unity are abstract words and it is only when we move from the noun to the verb that they concert into action," Ms. Caceres said.

"Peace in the heart, peace in the soul, unity in the being, peace and unity in the family, peace and unity in the major family which is humanity – all these are the essence of the teachings of the Baha'i Faith," she said.

At the exhibition, held between 5 and 29 February, 2004, Ms. Baher also displayed two of her books, which feature similar themes to her paintings.

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Sima Baher beside the poster of her exhibition at the Borges Cultural Center in Buenos Aires.

"From Uruguay to the World" and "Lazos," both edited and published by Ms. Baher, include poems and articles written mostly by Uruguayan authors.

Speaking about the themes of her books at the event, Ms. Baher said that peace is one of the essential characteristics of a mature society.

"The concept of peace is much more profound than the end or absence of wars," she said.

"Peace is the stage during which we can develop and manifest our latent potential for the good of the society. Peace is believing that we are noble and distinguished beings."

Ms. Baher said that artists have a responsibility towards humanity.

"Artists are educators who touch the hearts of people directly – they help people see, feel, and understand the realities of the world."

Ms. Baher, also a poet and an art teacher, organizes classes and gatherings in Uruguay where participants explore the arts with the help of the Baha'i writings.

In the coming months the classes will also be held in Argentina, under the auspices of the Center of Art, Culture, and Development, a foundation that she established in 1996 with her husband, Alejandro Caballero, to focus on art as a means of personal and social development.

"Art is a spiritual issue," Ms. Baher says.

"Baha'u'llah said that the arts, crafts, and sciences elevate the world of being and lead to its exaltation. The arts can awaken noble qualities and sentiments in us and make us want to become better people."

Ms. Baher completed her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in L'Aquila, Italy, and later studied architecture in Rome.

In 1981 she received the Premio Foro award at an international art competition, organized by the Forum Interart Gallery in Rome.

Her paintings have featured in many exhibitions in Montevideo, in other cities in Uruguay, and in Italy, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States.

Ms. Baher's exhibition will open again in June at the Cultural Center in Adrogue, a city near Buenos Aires.