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Art & Diversity Festival

From 16-18 July 2021, Jugend-& Kulturprojekt e.V. Dresden organised the ART & DIVERSITY Festival. The 3-day festival took place within the framework of the Europe for Citizens project „Open European Societies“, which aims to support the integraton of refugees and migrants while counteracting stereotypes and taking a firm stand against discrimination, xenophobia and Hate Speech.

The festival’s motto „Art and Diversity“ underlined this objective. Believing that art plays an important role in observing, questioning and confronting stereotypes, JKPeV set up a great variety of artistic, performative and musical activities – ranging from art and photo exhibitions to music concerts of various music genres, performances, film screenings, readings, poetry, an art market, a zine workshop and a live painting show. These were aimed at bringing people together, celebrating art and creativity while promoting acceptance, diversity and open-mindedness. The festival was a spectacular finale to the Open European Societies project. Representatives of the partner organisations from the Czech Republic (Institute for Regional Development), Denmark (Aarhus University), France (La Transplanisphere), Germany (Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V., Memorare Pacem), Greece (AddArt NGO) and North Macedonia (CID Kumanovo) participated in the final transnational partner meeting coordinated by Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. and the ART&DIVERSITY Festival. The representatives of the partner organisations discussed and evaluated what they achieved throughout the implementation of the project, the impact of the project on local, national and European level and shared their experiences and the difficulties they encountered during the lockdown period due to COVID-19. They also discussed the sustainability of the project and how they could follow it up since it has been a very good cooperation between the partners and the project outcomes fulfilled the qualitative criteria set from the beginning of the project.

JKPeV collaborated with several local cultural associations and shops which are based in Hechtviertel and Neustadt in Dresden, Germany creating a network of local cultural spots and facilities and making it possible to extend the festival‘s activities to various locations in Dresden’s Neustadt district. The main local partners of JKPeV were Weltclub e.V.  Weinselig and Hechtviertel e.V. which hosted different cultural, art and music events and activities of the ART & DIVERSITY Festival.

The music acts reflected a great diversity of musical origins and genres. On the first two days of the festival, the visitors had the pleasure to enjoy the singer-songwriter LonA singing and playing the guitar. Later on, the artist TANNYFFA, together with her musical partners DON RINATOS and MATTHIAS, inspired the visitors with world music sounds of the Jew’s Harp, the Handpan and the Udu. At Weltclub, visitors had the chance to rock along to the music of THE CHRIS MOLINA TRIO. The following day started with the Dresden-based psychedelic rock band A Zero Artefact (AZA) and continued with blues rock music performed by GRACEFULL FALL and the full of surprises Culture Jam Session initiated by JKPeV. Meanwhile, at Weltclub, the AFROPA HAUSBAND inspired visitors with their versatile musical style mixing Afro and Buena Vista with a touch of the melancholy of Fado.

On the final day, the band PERSIAN FUSION played Persian traditional music in a modern style. The singer-songwriter JOHNETHEN FUCHS inspired the audience with his moving and intuitive songs, before the festival was concluded with a final concert by SEAU VOLANT which invited visitors to dance and enjoy the open street festival atmosphere with their balkan, klezmer and polka music.

Furthermore, JKPeV cooperated with a special musical initiative aimed at enhancing local urban spaces through music: KLANGRAUM DD is a project initiated by Benedikt Englisch and Max Hobinka. It is dedicated to installing artistically designed pianos in public spaces and thereby offers a stage for local musicians and artists or anyone who’d like to play the piano.

All those interested, whether professional or hobby musicians or simply passers-by, could take a seat at the piano, which was set up in front of KulturCentrale, and inspire the audience with their music and interact musically with other piano players.

The visual arts were represented by the exhibition ART 4 ALL at Weltclub. The exhibition featured four artists from diverse countries, social and artistic backgrounds – ENAS ARABI, SILVIO COLDITZ, JAKYEONG and ALEKSANDRA VAGABONDA.

ENAS ARABI’s colourful and mystic works reflect a visionary dimension, that passes the limits of what we can see with our eyes and reflects the philosophy of ancient civilizations. In his calligraphical works, SILVIO COLDITZ transforms poetry to a visual dimension, whereas JAKYEONG presented two paintings representing diversity and reflecting critically on discrimination. And finally, the exhibition featured ALEKSANDRA VAGABONDA with paintings and a live tattoo performance dedicated to reconnecting humans with nature. Furthermore, visitors could admire FLUX WILDLY’s exhibition „Nachtwesen“ – creatures of the night as well as OLGA YOCHEVA‘s film screening on local artists from the Dresden Nesutadt district. Additionally, at Weinselig and Hechtviertel e.V. the photographer AXEL C. KUBITZ presented two photographic exhibitions dedicated to familiar persons from the local Hechtviertel and infrared photography. Additionally, at KulturCentrale, video documentary material and photographs of the Open European Societies project was at display to illustrate the background of the festival.

Part of ART&DIVERSITY Festival was also an Art Market. Several artists, among which FLUX WILDLY, JAKYEONG, ANNA PIREVA, TANNYFFA and ALEKSANDRA VAGABONDA offered some of their artworks for sale. As part of the initiative „Support your local artists“ interested visitors could support the local artists by buying an artwork, therefore directly creating an impact on the local art scene.

Besides the exhibitions and concerts, Art&Diversity Festival also offered literary inspiration. INGO R. gave a reading of her „Ironic Texts“. SILVIO COLDITZ read poems from „Aporien im Umgang mit sich selbst“ and from his forthcoming volume “sich selbst aufs Spiel setzen”.

Also several performances were part of the festival: RAHMA BEN FREDJ enchanted a large number of visitors with her physical theatre and dance performance „Out of this World“. FLUX WILDLY delivered an energy-driven, dynamic and captivating live action art show. The music project LICH°TERN of the Dresden musician André “Hefty” Mitschke was an inspiring performance fusing light . COCO N.’s performance „Kunden-Service“ reflected on the monotony of a call agent’s work life.  Moreover, the artist VIARAYA started to paint the concrete flower pots outside KulturCentrale which remain visible permanently at JKPeV‘s premises.

Besides that, Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi held an interactive mini-zine workshop. First, a presentation was given about what zines are, why and how they are used and their history in the 20th century, and then the participants were shown how to create mini- zines using a combination of art techniques such as collage, painting, drawing and writing with the ultimate aim of telling a story. The international group of participants had the opportunity to create their own mini-zines and on the last day oft he festival, they gathered to present their mini-zines and shared their stories, hopes and feelings with the group. Each mini-zine and story was truly unique and inspiring!

In total, the festival counted more than 500 visitors and therefore had a considerable social impact on the local community of Dresden. Besides bringing together the local community, local and international artists, musicians and performers and the international group of the Open European Societies participants, it offered visitors and artists the chance to exchange and reflect critically on society by the means of art and music. The miscellaneous activities inspired the local community and the international guests and created an open-minded and inspiring atmosphere, that encouraged participants to interact and exchange ideas. Moreover, the ART&DIVERSITY Festival offered a platform to local artists coming from very diverse backgrounds, so that they could express themselves and have a great impact on local level through their artistic, performative and music contributions.