“We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race”
“The living owe it to those who cannot speak to tell their story”
“Brothers together in arms we stand”
These are just some of the quotations that adorn the Singularity of Peace exhibition’s Instagram feed.
They’ve been chosen because they perfectly encapsulate the exhibition’s mission to promote positive diversity through knowledge of shared history.
Singularity of Peace is seeking to achieve this through visual storytelling. Specifically, by showcasing riveting and inspiring artwork depicting the forgotten stories of the Muslim soldiers who fought on the side of allied forces during WW1.
The exhibition showcases key pages from The Unknown Fallen book in the hopes of expounding some of the deeply profound stories that transpired during the war.
Using state of the art printing techniques, images from the book have been blown up onto large canvases, bringing to life stories of courage, loyalty, friendship and respect. These include letters from Algerian soldiers, testimonials from the British nurses treating Muslim soldiers in Mesopotamia and photos of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim labourers who supported the war effort across various home fronts.
Both Singularity of Peace and The Unknown Fallen are offshoots of the Forgotten Heroes 1419 Foundation (FHF1419).
FHF1419’s researchers have spent the past seven years delving into military, diplomatic and private archives, including diaries and letters, across 19 countries, accessing more than 850,000 documents in French, English, Farsi, Urdu, Russian, German and Arabic, as well as hundreds of images. They estimate that 2.5 million Muslims contributed to the allied cause either as soldiers or labourers, the first time such a figure has been established.
The hundreds of unseen images featured in the exhibition are more than just pictures on a wall. They represent this monumental untold history, through which our world was shaped into what it is today.
The significance of Singularity of Peace and the wider FHF1419 project has not gone unnoticed. Visitors have been surprised and stirred by the scale of the sacrifice revealed through the art. One guest commenting:
“I feel really moved by what I’ve seen. It’s fascinating actually – a piece of history I knew nothing about. I really hope that lots of people get to hear about this and that it can travel to lots of different venues.”
Though the location of the next exhibit is still TBC, FHF1419 are determined to ensure that Singularity of Peace tours galleries across the nation. In fact, it’s a major part of their strategy for using the project in service of community cohesion.
FHF1419 believes passionately that its findings should be used to improve young Britons’ knowledge of the diverse demographics of WW1, in view of helping future generations to better understand their bonds with the Muslim communities living among them.
Indeed, this has proved a key takeaway of the exhibition, with one young visitor remaking:
“Instead of just finding an appreciation of my history and culture I found connections between my history and culture and other cultures. I think that what is being taught here is humanity.”
For FHF1419 chairman Luc Ferrier, reactions such as these make the whole project worthwhile; demonstrating history’s immense power as a counter narrative to intolerance:
“We are simply presenting the facts because this is a story that the whole of Europe needs to know. Muslims are portrayed as the enemy within – recent arrivals who have never made a valuable contribution to Europe. But we can show that they have sacrificed their lives for a free Europe, have helped to make it what it is and that they have a right to be here.”
Stay tuned for details on the next Singularity of Peace exhibit at https://www.singularityofpeace.com/exhibition