Mosques and Churches in Kenya Join to Promote Joy
Several mosques and churches across Kenya are getting a fresh coat of paint as part of an interfaith initiative to sow peace in the region. The “Colour in Faith” initiative, spearheaded by artist Yazmany Arboleda, is helping Muslim and Christian congregations paint their houses of worship, yellow—a colour symbolizing joy. It’s a simple act they hope will send a profound message of love and cooperation.
Kenya has experienced years of religious tension between its majority Christian and minority Muslim populations. This tension has become increasingly violent due to the rise of Islamist militant group al-Shabab.
So far, two churches and one mosque have joined in on the “The Colour in Faith” project, with three other houses of worship in the works.
“Often times, people have walked away from our workshops and painting sessions with dismantled preconceptions and a new awareness of how and why other communities outside of their own believe in what they do,” Arboleda says. The artist and his team have named their color of choice “optimistic yellow” to represent “joy, happiness, intellect, and energy,” he said. “Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, and stimulates mental activity.”
“Colour in Faith” is part of an ongoing collaboration between Arboleda and civic engagement expert Nabila Alibhai. Their work together began in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2013, where they worked with local artists and activists to give pink balloons to 10,000 people in the city. Arboleda and Alibhai went on to set up a community arts and civic engagement organization, under which the “Colour in Faith” project is now being sponsored.