World-renowned artist and peace activist George Gittoes has again been acknowledged for his lifetime dedication to fighting for human rights across the globe.
Gittoes told the Mercury it was "one of the happiest days of his life" to be recognised by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Award from for his work creating the Yellow House arts hub in Jalalabad and creating Pashtun Language films which were "often made at great risk".
"It is wonderful to be acknowledged outside of Australia by an institution where the people understand how difficult and dangerous it has been to create the works I have in film and art as they live the same dangers every day," she said.
"The people here [in Pakistan] have been subjected to constant fanaticism and terrorist attacks. There have been two mosque bombings and a market bombing in the last month, alone.
"In my view, the film I made out of Peshawar in 2008 titled Miscreants of Taliwood remains my most original and creative documentary."
For more than 50 years Gittoes has dared to use art and film to confront violence in the war zones, in a bid to expose to the public the wrongs of the world while also showing hope.
"I have been working in both the tribal area of Pakistan Khyber Paktun Kwar (Peshawar) and Afghanistan since the late 90s," he said.
"The annual award is a special honour and was a total surprise."
After releasing his latest documentary about local artist's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine Guernica, the creative is now back in Jalalabad, Afghanistan to make two new documentaries - one about the Yellow House and its aims and one about the after-effects on the population of 20 years of war."
"Our ambition here in Jalalabad is to show that art and education can succeed where 20 years of war have failed," the award-winning artist said.
"What we are doing is funded entirely by art sales while the military cost of the war ran into millions."
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