Before I began painting this mural, I read Meena: Heroine of Afghanistan, The Martyr who founded RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Although this painting could never capture the essence and strength of Meena and everything she stood for, I was so deeply touched and inspired by her strength and courage, and the countless women and men who day after day put their lives in danger to fight for justice, that I wanted to paint something that showed respect for their resistance and the courage it takes to stand up for justice. I often become so overwhelmed by all the horrors that are happening in the world every day, that it is hard to remain hopeful that change can happen, however the combined phoenix/dove rising from the ashes of corruption and war symbolizes the remarkable activists who never give up and continue to work for peace.
Dara Wells-Hajjar was born and raised in Venice, CA. She graduated from Western Washington University in 2008, with a BA in Therapeutic Healing and Social Change through the Arts. In March 2009, she traveled to Gaza with an international peace delegation to witness the aftermath of Israel's Operation Cast Lead. She also participated in the Gaza Freedom March, whch took place in December 2009-January 2010 in Cairo.