Beirut Art Flag Exhibition This summer sees the beginning of an international arts initiative inspired by UNESCO and the OFAA (Olympic Fine Arts Association). From 21 May to the end of August, 40 artists representing 40 countries will display flag art all along the length of Beirut’s seaside parade – in so doing visually conveying the message behind UNESCO’s declaration of the Day of Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development.

Besides its pretty spot on the Eastern Mediterranean and the fact that it was long known as a glamorous Riviera city, Beirut was chosen as the location for this initiative because in recent years it has been able to put a bloody civil war behind it and move towards development and prosperity in a tolerant multi-religious society. Although the balance of peace and stability in this small nation within the heart of the Middle East remains fragile, Lebanon nonetheless serves as a powerful example of what can be achieved when violence and sectarianism are purged from the hearts and minds of a nation’s people.

International artists' flag art in BeirutIn so doing it can provide an inspirational example to follow for the many other countries in the region, and in the world, that are beset by the same tensions, divisions, bloodshed and economic disruption that threatened to drag Lebanon into the abyss not so very long ago. Spain was proudly represented by one of its leading artists, Victoria Cano. The Spanish artist, who is no stranger to major international exhibitions and art celebrations, stepped up to the plate to create a visual representation of Spain that encapsulates the spirit of the UNESCO and OFAA message.

The latter has as its mission to expand the Olympic spirit, through which international diversity is celebrated and the nations of the world come together to compete on friendly terms in a broad variety of sports. Having extended the principle from sport into the arena of the arts, OFAA now wants to use both mediums to show how the Olympian spirit as an example of how things can – and should – be. As the person chosen to represent Spain on this lofty podium, Victoria Cano receives both artistic and personal satisfaction from an art exhibition with a truly humanist mission.

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