Last Christmas, al Shabaab militants stopped a bus in the northeastern Kenyan town of Mandera and demanded that all Christian passengers be handed over. The Muslims on the bus refused; some quickly passed their headscarves to the non-Muslim passengers to disguise them. The Islamist militants eventually let the bus go.
It’s this kind of interfaith solidarity that Colombian artist Yazmany Arboleda and Nabila Alibhai, founder of a Nairobi-based civic group inCOMMONS, hope to engender in a civic art project where local communities paint mosques and churches across the country a bright yellow. The project, Colour in Faith, was completed earlier this month, with a total of five churches and four mosques or Muslim religious buildings bathed in what they call “optimistic yellow.”
“The idea is that these buildings are landmarks that celebrate pluralism and unity,” Arboleda told Quartz. Volunteers, often a mix of Christian and Muslim residents, paint the buildings with donated paint. “The idea was to explore religion and find commonalities with the hope to create a space for reflection.”