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08.01.2010 Togo

UNESCO honours late Togolese Artist for Peace

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7 January - The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today paid tribute to Paul Ahyi, a Togolese painter and sculptor who had served as a UNESCO Artist for Peace since September 2009 until his death earlier this week.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova mourned the death of Mr. Ahyi, who died on 4 January in Lome, saying he had “played a decisive role in highlighting our common ideals of diversity, tolerance and intercultural dialogue in Africa and the rest of the world.”

A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) in Paris, Mr. Ahyi had created ceramics, tapestries and jewelry, and planned interiors and household objects.

Born in 1930, Mr. Ahyi strove to increase the world's knowledge and appreciation of African culture, convinced that cultural diversity was a key to dialogue between peoples.

His works have been shown throughout Africa, and in Canada, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, United States and the Vatican.

Ms. Bokova called Mr. Ahyi's death “a great loss for Togo and Africa and also for UNESCO, which had appointed him as one of its advocates for peace and social cohesion.”

Among his achievements, he designed the Togolese national flag and contributed to the Independence Monument erected at the heart of Lome.

His honours include the Médaille d'Or des Métiers d'Arts in Paris (1961), Officer of the Ordre du Mono in Togo (1970), Commander of the Palmes Académiques Françaises (1985), Officer of the Arts et Lettres de France (1985).

He wrote several books including "La réflexion sur l'art et la culture" and "Togo, mon cœur saigne".

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