Bilal Moheebulla works as an industrial and graphic designer with strong ideas about art as a tool for social activism. We met up with him at Union Station to discuss the international project One Million Bones that he is currently involved with.
The brainchild of visual artist Naomi Natale, One Million Bones seeks to make visible the hidden horrors of genocide. Volunteers from all over the world make human bones from clay and arrange them in what Natale describes as a, "symbolic mass grave and visible petition". The foundation is working towards a huge installation at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for June 8th - 10th, 2013.
Moheebulla, along with fellow volunteers from Architecture for Humanity Toronto have taken up the challenge led by Students Rebuild, with One Million Bones Toronto, where you can get involved. To coincide with the installation in D.C., they are planning a large-scale event called The Centre for Peaceful Protest at Harbourfront Community Centre. The goal is to create 1 - 5,000 bones during free workshops, alongside panel discussion and a film series. To get involved or to donate towards materials, visit here or message OMB Toronto on facebook. School and community groups are encouraged to participate, with resources available to have their own bone making workshop.
The bones do not only act as a visual reminder of atrocity and push to political action, they also provide material assistance for people displaced by genocide. Through Students Rebuild, for ever bone made, one dollar will be donated to CARE by the Bezos Family Foundation (up to 500,000) to rebuild livelihoods in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was a delight to speak with Bilal on art, architecture and the importance of these disciplines in life quality and social change. It swelled our civic pride to know that there is a community in this city striving in a constructive way to affect international issues while at the same time supporting and teaching Toronto's youth.
"When we make something with our hands, it changes the way we feel, which changes the way we think, which changes the way we act."
--Carl Wilkins, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, taken from a OMB project video