Palestinian kids create human sculpture for peace

With the help of 1,000 children from UNRWA schools, aerial artist John Quigley recreates Picasso's Peace Dove.

Palestinian schoolchildren recreate Picasso's Peace Dove 311 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Palestinian schoolchildren recreate Picasso's Peace Dove 311
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
“One more person at the bottom left of the A,” American aerial artist John Quigley yelled out.

He looking down at the desert valley next to the Mount of Temptation, 11 km. northwest of Jericho, on Friday.Below, 1,000 Palestinian children were busy forming a human mosaic in the shape of the dove peace symbol popularized by Pablo Picasso in 1949.First, Quigley had a team of adults sketch out in the sand a large outline of the dove, including an olive branch and the words “Love All.”Then, under the morning sun, hundreds of children from schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency sat single file, on top of the lines, until their bodies formed an image that could be seen by those standing on cliffs overlooking the valley.From his perch above the valley, Quigley yelled out directions and encouragement.“That looks so much better,” he said. “And the dove looks beautiful.“You are awesome!” he yelled at the youngsters when they were all seated.Quigley, who has created this kind of aerial art all over the world from California to the Amazon, was invited to Jericho by UNRWA.He told The Jerusalem Post that he jumped at the invitation because of the region’s deep political and religious history.“Wherever there is conflict I feel like there are things that we can do to bring people together,” he said. “I work with large crowds of people to create images on landscapes for social and environmental issues.“If anyplace needs more love, it is this place and these people,” Quigley said.The children in the valley below, he said, were no different than their peers in other parts of the world.“They want a future and this is a way to involve them in speaking to the world.”“From this iconic place we will send out this message of love, and hopefully that will help lead to a path of peace.”The Jericho area’s physical space has a “resonance” to it, he said.“It is an amazing landscape and it is very powerful with all the stories and all the religious traditions,” he said.“Jericho at 258 meters below sea level] is the deepest place on earth. So let us go to a deep place to this message [of love],” Quigley said.