A youth art exhibition in Benghazi, Libya is inviting participants to submit photographic and artistic entries that capture the essence of Libyan identity.
Libya has been experiencing a civil conflict since the fall of former leader Colonel Muammar al-Ghaddafi in 2011. This has brought political, ideological and even ethnic differences to the surface as military factions and political groupings have been vying for authority in the country. The conflict has been detrimental to the unifying nature of Libyan national identity and so efforts are being made to strengthen this identity, especially among the youth.
The Development 360 Foundation organised an art exhibition in Benghazi, the second city of Libya, for the very purpose of reifying Libyan national identity for the youth. A large number of large number of paintings, collections, and photographs, as well as contributions from Libyan architects have been presented at the exhibition.
“We have seen that development cannot be achieved in a vacuum. We live in a society of a long-standing identity and very excellent and very strong foundations. So, we wanted to highlight it by inviting a group of writers, intellectuals, and artists. These people will talk according to their domains and perspectives on the different components of our identity and how these components are related to development”, said one of the participants at the art exhibition in Benghazi.
Several initiatives have been implemented in this vein to improve social ties between Libyans who have been fractured as a consequences of the conflict and also the repression of long-standing grievances during the long reign of Muammar al-Ghaddafi.
Libya is still politically divided and is home to two competing governments, one based in the capital Tripoli, called the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the UN, and the one is based in Tobruk, called the House of Representatives (HoR).
Recent focus in the country has been on the enduring conflict in the capital Tripoli over the past few months, as forces loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by strongman Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive on GNA-held territories.