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  • Writer's picturePaul G. Chandler

Baba’s Art School – 101: #4

“You can’t begin too soon to encourage an appreciation of art! And each artwork has a story.”

As we continue to hope for a ceasefire and truce to the war in Gaza, for this “Baba’s” artwork presentation to his grandchildren from his art collection, it seemed most apropos to highlight one of the “keys” in an exhibition titled THE KEY.

THE KEY was a major East-West peacebuilding art exhibition/installation in 2016 that used the globally recognized ancient Egyptian symbol of the Ankh as the canvas for a contemporary message of hope for a harmonious, peaceful and tolerant world. The Ankh, known as the ancient “Key of Life,” is the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “life,” and it is seen as the oldest known symbol of pluralism, tolerance and harmony. The artistic initiative addressed “the key” to living in a peaceful and harmonious world, uniting people of different religious and cultural backgrounds.

In THE KEY exhibition, 40 premier and emerging Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Western contemporary visual artists were each given a modern three-dimensional fiberglass portrayal (1.20 m in height) of the ancient “Key of Life,” the Ankh, that was sculpted by the noted Egyptian artist Dr. Reda Abdel Rahman. Each artist used their Ankh sculpture as the canvas for a contemporary message of hope for a harmonious, peaceful and tolerant world.

THE KEY opened in Cairo, Egypt in March 2016, was then showcased in London and New York City. To learn more, visit:

Check out the catalog at:

This particular “key” (ankh) that I am showing my grandchildren was not given to an artist, but was left empty at the entrance of each exhibition venue for people to write messages of peace and harmony upon. It includes thousands of messages and wishes for peace in many different languages from people all over the world! On the front in larger letters are the words “Hope” and “Peace” in Arabic, and “Love” in English.

I leave the last words to none other than the musician Sting, who sings: “Regardless of our ideology, we all have the same biology.”


Sculpture by Reda Abdel Rahman, “Global Messages of Peace”

Height-1.15m (45.27 in) / Width-70 cm (27.55 in) / Depth-22cm (8.66 in)


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