Zelný trh 6
NORTH SOUTH EAST WEST
From North African shores to Europe – a short outline of the history of our project.
The Strait of Gibraltar sees the constant mingling, in both directions, of the waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which is also known as a marginal sea of the Atlantic because of its origins about 5.33 million years ago. The geographical and historical conditions of this waterway that separates the African from the European continent and our desire for connectedness and exchange are symbolized in the title of our first exhibition ‘Une mer, deux rivages’, designed as a work-in-progress. It was mediated by the Moroccan artist and curator Said Messari and took place at the cultural centre MAC.A, founded in 2012 by a Moroccan cultural association with the view to enabling the encounter among artists and intellectuals from around the world and promote and communicate to the public the human values of peace, tolerance and understanding.
For us European artists it was a departure toward new horizons in North Africa, in the opposite direction to the flow of refugees who risk their lives by trying to reach the European shores. Several weeks of sharing the daily life and creating work in dialogue with the Moroccan artist Ahlam Lemseffer facilitated a genuine exchange of ideas and experiences, the encounter with the great tradition of Arab art and culture, as well as the confrontation with critical views of Europe by meetings, lectures and conversations. These experiences are integrated in our recent, ongoing project North/South/East/West that was so far presented in 2017 at Interno 14 in Rome, Italy, and at Espacio BOP Madrid, Spain, and is now showing in Brno.
We all look back on numerous years of experience, artistic activity and changes in the world. History repeats itself under different conditions. It was dramatic in the beginning of our formation and continues to be highly dramatic today. Issues of social injustice, the demand for equal rights for all women and the overcoming of authoritarian state structures were our subjects. A critical look and solidarity led to international contacts and projects and to enthusiasm for a united Europe.
New forms of international collaboration have emerged with the global digital net and process-oriented art has left the museums and turns again to burning social problems like unemployment and immigration of hundreds of thousands into Europe in escape of war and poverty. A feature that joins the members of our group is cosmopolitan openness. We understand our project as a contribution to the much needed acceptance that we are all different and have dissimilar concepts of life and believe, and we connect this with a desire for tolerance and harmony in a multi-ethnic, culturally diverse Europe.