Open House in Gdansk

Open House Gdansk

Shared History - PROJECT INAUGURATION / St. John’s CentreEvening programme: 19 JUNE 2017 / 06:00 p.m.1. Presentation of the Shared History project concept by partners from Stockholm, Riga and Gdańsk and the artistic team: Poland-Syria/Sweden2. “Multicultural Gdańsk” discussion - a general introduction to the multicultural history of Gdańsk (Mieczysław Abramowicz – writer, theatre historian and director); the present and the past (Piotr Olech – Deputy Director of the Department of Social Development of the City Council in Gdańsk, Julia Szawłowska – Immigrant Support Centre)3. Film screenings (50 min) will highlight the impact of migration on film art. The selection of films is intended to draw attention to the cosmopolitan nature of the film industry. The common feature of the two films is that they were created by directors working away from their homeland: one immigrated to Poland (Mkhitaryan) while the other emigrated from it (Polański). The films also have the common animal theme, taking both stories beyond the limitations of space and time. A film expert from Gdańsk University will give an introduction before the film screening.Milk Brother (2014, directed by Vahram Mkhitarin, 30').It is a story about a boy who would like to have a younger brother. The ten-year-old Seto is looking forward to the birth of his sibling. In the meantime his family takes in a lamb rejected by its herd... An Armenian-Polish co-production.Mammals (1962, directed by Roman Polański, 10')The short film focuses on the mechanisms of interpersonal relations, illustrated by the story of two men travelling across a snowy area. It was created just before the director’s departure from Poland, on the threshold of his great international career.4. “How to be an immigrant artist” – debate Discussion moderator – Agnieszka WołodźkoThe artists will talk about the role of art in the integration and assimilation of artists in a foreign country and local environment and artists’ experiences in Poland and Sweden. Discussion participants:1/ Vahram Mkhitaryan / Armenia2/ Ibrahim Mouhanna / Syria/Sweden 3/ Iwona Zając / Poland4/ Dorota Walentynowicz / Greece5/ Aurora Lubos / Poland, England5. “Out of Water” – performance by Aurora Lubos (10’)AURORA LUBOS is an independent artist and performer connected with British and Gdańsk contemporary scene. 2 days of OPEN HOUSE:The St. John’s Centre  was open for two days, 19–20 JUNE / 12.00–06.00 p.m.Two days of presentations and film screenings – review of previous Baltic Sea Culture Centre projects concerning refugees, immigrants and cross-cultural dialogue.Programme:• Presentation of photo-essays by Maciej Moskwa, awarded and presented at Gdańsk Press Photo post-award exhibition ("Uchodźcy", "Granica", "Rzeczy")• Documentary – report from the Festival of World Culture "Window Onto the World" 2013 – “Art for democratic revolution”• Exhibition of works by Khaled Basmadji (a Syrian living in Gdańsk) highlighting his personal story connected with the outbreak of the war in Syria._____NCK also ssupports the campaign Gdańsk Solidarity with the Victims of War It will feature Art Alert Gdańsk | charity fair and concert18 June, 12.00-06.00 p.m.Its aim is to raise money for children from refugee centres in Poland  

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The making of UnderWeAre

A film about the making of Ibrahim Mouhanna's art film for the Shared History-exhibition in Gdansk, a creative process in dialouge with Agnieszka Wołodźko.

“In the film, I want to raise a question of who takes control over yourself, your life, your mind. Is it you? Is it our dad? Is it our government? Is it our priest or Imam? What made you the person you are today? Who had influence on you? In the film UnderWeAre, I tried to be as close as possible to myself. I’m sharing part of my personal story and experiences. I want to communicate this internal dialogue to others, to Polish people in this sensitive period that Poland is witnessing now”.

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The making of Waiting for Paulo Dall'Oglio

A film about the making of Agnieszka Wołodźko's art installation for the Shared History-exhibition in Gdansk, a creative process in dialouge with Ibrahim Mouhanna.

"My project is a site-specific installation and an arranged situation involving the audience. Its theme relates to the figure of the Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio, who lived in Syria for 30 years. He rebuilt a monastery of Deir Mar Musa located 80 km north of Damascus, and organized an ecumenical community there – a meeting place for Syrian Christians and Muslims. He was also a pacifist, he supported the opposition objecting the Bashar al-Assad government. In 2013 he was kidnapped and the trace of him was lost. On one of the walls in the north aisle, I display remains of internal stairs. This wall, with its brick structure, is reminiscent of a mountainous landscape near the monastery where Paolo was active and the stairs leading to it. I place a ceramic object on the wall, referring to the architecture of the monastery. I hang a “flag” with an inscription “Waiting for Paolo Dall'Oglio” from a keystone under the vault. On the floor by the wall, I spread carpets, referring to the carpets on the floor of the said Syrian monastery. The rugs have pillows on which the audience can sit. In the corner, on the floor, a television with a short documentary about Paolo Dall'Oglio by Ibrahim Mouhanna is placed". (Agnieszka Wołodźko)

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Sharing stories in Gdansk

Sharing stories in Gdansk For the Shared History project, the organization Arteria in Gdansk invited women born in Poland along with female immigrants for a workshop, where participants expressed their experiences through different storytelling methods The meeting started with a group dance. It was a very emotional moment – the women were still a bit distant as they never met before, but the dance united and integrated the group. It made the group have a feeling that they participates in something important, and at the same time something very personal. A fragment of the story 'Little Sindbads – Children on the road' introduced the group to a tale of those wandering, running away and searching for a new place on earth. A story about children from Syria and Poland, but also about women who accompany them on the way. There was among others Maria's story from Greece, Debora’s from the Philippines, Click’s from Nigeria - about how immigrants from different countries, leaders in their communities, decided to creatively act together, sharing their strength, talents, experience. This lead to a conversation about the building blocks of stories, and how to use them – about tone of voice, gestures, expressions, the way of speaking, either slowly or more dynamically, how the means of expression have a great impact on how a story is percieved. Then there was a time for the participants to tell their own stories, beginning with story about a little girl running away from her country with her mother. It was a story from the road, very sad and emotional. It illustrated the broken dreams and new hopes of this little girl. After hearing the story, the others taks was to tell the same story but from the perspective of the mother. They all voiced a story, one after the other, in their own words, and discussed how the story changes depending on the person who tells it. This highlighted the difficulties of telling the same story from a different perspective, seen with another person’s eyes. In pairs participants then created their own stories, starting from an expression that described the one who told the story, then they told the other person’s story and connected it to this expression of the partner. Telling another person’s story, choosing the moments which for each speaker were the most important, the most touching – but in ones own words. The titles given to these stories were very mysterious and lyrical. Natalia from Ukraine shared her own story on how she came to Gdansk, fleeing from Ukraine. It was a very touching moment. The participants left with a 'homework' – notebooks in which they now continue to write down experiences and everyday stories. The workshop was facilitated by Beata Frankowska. She is a story-teller, educator, and cultural animator: “I have been dealing with storytelling for twenty years. I tell fairy tales, traditional and literary tales, but also small stories related to oral memory - especially of children and women. For many years I have been meeting women in women's circles, discovering our common history." The Arteria Association was founded in 2009 in Gdansk. It conducts various activities in the field of cultural education and cultural animation in Tri-City (Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia), which are directed at promoting equal citizen rights, social inclusion and multicultural dialogue. They are mostly interested in the fields of culture and art, which are usually neglected and forgotten. They are committed to discovering what culture omitted or undervalued, and reaching out to groups that have limited access to the fields of art and culture. Photos by: Pamela GranatowskiA filmed documentation of the workshop is included at the end of this film.

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