Kleine Helping Build Peace in Israel and Palestine

Metal Casting Instructor Spends 10 Days in Troubled Region


Peace seems more distant than ever in Israel, but Selkirk College instructor Denis Kleine is forging ahead with a project he hopes will act as a symbol of what can be achieved in the future.

Bloodshed and tension rises daily in the Gaza Strip as Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continue the conflict that has taken a terrible toll on the region. With no end in sight to the struggle, earlier this month Kleine headed to the Middle East to get started on a sculpture project that promotes peace.

“When you look around the world there has been so much tension in that region seemingly forever,” says Kleine, who is the Metal Casting Instructor at Selkirk’s Nelson-based Kootenay Studio Arts. “It just seemed like a logical place to start.”

Peace Symbol Project

The rendering of what Kleine and his partners hope will one day become reality in Israel.

In 2010 Kleine created the sculpture Peace Symbol which was installed at the West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar. Standing four feet tall, the bronze sculpture features a male and female standing back-to-back in a circle of hands that all come together to form a peace symbol.

Since the popular sculpture was installed, Kleine has wanted to expand the reach of the meaning and artistry of the piece by creating a series of Peace Symbol sculptures around the world. In the spring—prior to the recent explosion of strife in the Gaza Strip—Kleine got started on the project that would see a 12-foot version of Peace Symbol created for installation in Israel.

“This has been on my mind for a long time and I just couldn’t wait any longer,” says Kleine.

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