Jewish, Muslim and Christian women’s art exhibition launches

A unique exhibition of original artwork created by Jewish, Muslim and Christian women from Afula, Israel is on display at Blackburne House in Liverpool.

The WIZO exhibition ‘Women and their Olive Trees’ launch last week was attended by local dignitaries and will be there on display until the end of August 2017.

Women and Their Olive Trees has a central theme of ‘Unity in Diversity’ and consists of 35 paintings of olive trees – a well-known symbol of peace – and explores friendship and sharing, with the Israeli female artists from different cultural and religious backgrounds, developing lasting relationships that have transformed perceptions and built hope for the future.
Unity in Diversity

In the spirit of Unity in Diversity both Liverpool Cathedrals – one at either end of Liverpool’s famous Hope Street – are hosting one painting each as well as one painting each in St Margaret’s Church in Toxteth, Princes Road Synagogue and the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre. Everyone is welcome to visit them there.

The exhibition has travelled throughout Europe and has been seen at significant locations such as the United Nations, European Parliament, Kew Gardens in London and the Houses of Parliament.

Here in Liverpool the launch at Blackburne House was attended by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Angela Eagle MP, Louise Ellman MP, local councillors and Israeli Deputy Ambassador Sharon Bar-li.

Blackburne House, a grade 2 listed building and originally the first girls’ school in Liverpool in 1844, having been attended by Edwina Currie, Actor Tina Malone and Gill Reynolds MBE is now a successful and vibrant organisation that has grown from a centre of education for women to being one of the UK’s leading and pioneering social enterprises. Generations of women’s lives are impacted through the work they do with several girls starting in the nursery while their mothers attend courses and later going on to run a course themselves.

Michelle Hayward (Merseyside Jewish Representative Council Chairman), Angela Eagle MP, Councillor Jeremy Wolfson, Louise Ellman MP, Councillor Liz Parsons, The Lady Mayoress of Liverpool Mrs Liliana Kennedy, Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Councillor Lana Orr (Cabinet Member – Skills & Employment) and Ria Manwell (Executive Director, Israel Information Centre).

The chair of the Board of Trustees at Blackburne House Liz Cross highlighted to guests at the launch the importance of finding the common values that we all share, a principle which is clearly demonstrated at Blackburne House. She said: “On behalf of Blackburne House I was delighted to welcome so many guests to the opening of the International exhibition – ‘Women and their Olive Trees’.

“As a women’s college and social enterprise group, we have worked for over 3 decades to transform womens’ lives here in Liverpool and beyond- living our values of inspiration, transformation, independence and equality.

“It was therefore fitting that we should provide the space in which many came together to appreciate this collection of paintings and to hear stories of women from many faiths who came together to be curious, to create, and to connect .

“When the focus so often is on what makes people different, this exhibition reminds us that we have much more in common -reflected in the compelling symbol of the Olive Tree.

“We hope this exhibition, the connections made at Blackburne House, and the impact this exhibition will have during its time in Liverpool, will lay foundations for friendships and collaboration long into the future and support us all in making a difference in our communities.”

Deputy Ambassador Bar-li in her speech remarked: “These thirty-five paintings were created in the spirit of tolerance, friendship and understanding, in a shared belief in the importance of coexistence and building bridges between their communities.”

Liverpool Councillor Jeremy Wolfson, who attended the opening of the exhibition said, “This is a powerful and dramatic exhibition and it is fantastic that it is on display at Blackburne House. It highlights just what is possible when people of different backgrounds work together.”

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Malcolm Kennedy commented: “It was an absolute pleasure to see the exhibition and the message it gives of inclusion.”

The exhibition is taking place throughout July and August and admission is free.

Blackburne House, on Blackburne Place off Hope Street, is open Monday and Friday from 8am – 6pm and from Tuesday – Thursday from 8am – 9pm

Liverpool Waterfront