Exclusive: The role of art in the reconstruction of war-torn Libya
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In the fifth of FRANCE 24’s special reports from Libya, Eric de Laverne and Wissam Charaf explore the cultural reconstruction in the eastern city of Benghazi and ask if art can help to restore unity in this divided land.
In April, eastern commander General Khalifa Haftar launched a new bid to expand his realm of control to Tripoli, the seat of Libya’s internationally recognized government. This offensive has gained significant support from members of a renewed cultural scene in the country’s second largest city, Benghazi.
Tanarout is the only cultural centre in the city, opened in 2015. The centre's artistic director, Hakeam Yahya, welcomes young artists, helping them find a new voice.
The whole city faces a mammoth challenge of reconstruction and Yahya believes that his centre has a role to play in that.
“Art and culture are part of the reconstruction of Benghazi," says Yahya. "We need art to carry this message for the Libyan people: we need to be united, cool-headed and we need to help each other”.
Others are less confident that Haftar will be able to unite the country.
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