The Culture of Memories
Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich
Cultural & artistic development of a culture in culture – from trauma & pain towards BEAUTY of life
How some individuals dare to courageously choose to transform their own personal, generational & cultural trauma into artistic work, and thereby creating a shift into transformation of healing.
Creating beauty heals on cellular level, and further more changes the outcome for new generations to come. That path was taken by Sephardic Jewish communities on Balkan through generations.
Transformation from pain to beauty, is a chosen path where on cultural level victim becomes victor by choosing to forgive & perceive pain and trauma as a gift. Louise Mazanti will have a talk about that theme, from her unique psychotherapeutic and art-historian perspective.
Ismar Cirkinagić, artist will show his work “Herbarium” and talk about his views of his transformation.
Tijana Mišković will talk about the diasporic in-betweenness, analyzed through artworks created by artists from former Yugoslavia, who live in Denmark.
Documentary film “Euphoria of Being” by Reka Szabó will show a transformation of Éva Fahidi from Holocaust survivor to art of dancing, and undeniable zest for life & movement at the age of 90.
The symposium will end on an acoustic note, with duo Barimatango performing Sephardic song.
09:00 – Opening of the symposium.
09:00 – Louise Mazanti talk & visual presentation.
10:00 – Collective Breath work with music, 30 min. by Louise Mazanti.
11:30 – In-house lunch break.
12:30 – Tijana Mišković talk & visual presentation.
13:30 – Ismar Cirkinagić, artist talk & visual presentation.
14:30 – Panel talk.
15:30 – Viewing “Euphoria of Being” documentary film by Réka Szabó.
17:00 – Dinner break.
19:30 – Barimatango, duo sephardic acoustic music concert.
20:45 – Thank you note.
21:00 – Synagogue closes doors.
Ismar Cirkinagić is born 1973 in Prijedor, Bosnia and Hercegovina, at the time SFR Yugoslavia. He graduated at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen 2006, and since then been living and working as an artists in Copenhagen and Prijedor.
The field of his interest covers conceptual art and photography, usually in the sphere of social and political context. In recent years he has exhibited in several museums and kunsthalle in Denmark and abroad. Some of these include Nikolaj Kunsthal, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Brandts Kunsthal- len, Kunsthal Aarhus, Sorø Art Museum, HEART Museum of Contemporary Art, and Esbjerg Art Museum.
The project is based on the traditional way of making a herbarium, and classifying flora, with the difference that all of the plants were collectd on mass graves in Bosnia and Hercegovina. In a seriers of ’herbaria’ artist works with a poetic cycle, wherein the deceased human body becomes nurture for grass and plants and thereby take a new form of life.
For this series of work he gathered plants from different mass graves, dried them and mounted them behind glass accompanied with their specific Latin name of the plant and information concerning the family to which the plants belongs. Furthermore, he writes the name of the mass grave where the spe- cific plants were found, how many bodies was found in the graves. This series of work can been seen as an extention of the installation “Cleaning Time”.
The Alchemy of Transformation
Visionaries, artist and spiritual leaders have always gone to the edge of human consciousness in order to transform human suffering into meaning, healing and growth for the benefit of the com- munity. The deep spiritual and artistic pulse of the Jewish Sephardic community on Balkan is an example. They have taught us by example how the depth of the human spirit reveals itself when we embrace our fears, our suffering, our humanity. The vulnerability being a place of creation. When we embrace the fulness of our experience, spirit is free to move through us. We become a vessel of creation. As we transform ourselves, we become creators of the emerging future.
Every moment holds that potential, for each of us. All that it takes is to slow down, to breathe, to stay open and to stop running away from the things we are trying to avoid feeling. The moment we say ‘yes’ inside and embrace everything as it is, is a moment ripe for real transformation.
We will enter this space together in a guided meditation and gentle breathing session. Bring whatever you wish to transform and see what happens when we create a field of consciousness together, that can hold our humanity as well as our divinity.
Louise Mazanti, PhD is a former professor in art theory. She now works with consciousness, me- mory and trauma as a transpersonal psychotherapist and international teacher.
Art from a diasporic inbetweenness, seen through the lens of memory
Connecting contemporary art and cultural memory studies, focusing on artworks by artists from former Yugoslavia now living in Denmark.
Since 2000, Yugoslavian artists have played a significant part in the contemporary art scene in Denmark. They are educated at Danish art academies, which have shaped their visual language; however, the content of their artworks often relates to war, migration and exile – topics distant from the present Danish context.
Based on my curatorial experience, I suggest that these artistic praxises are created in, what I call, diasporic inbetweenness – a displacement that affects the artists’ approach to subjectivity, cultural identity and political contexts.
The diasporic position is characterized by distance in time and space, which the artists are trying to overcome through artworks based on their own as well as inherited memories. When articulated through artworks, the artists’ personal interpretations of past events become part of a collective memory, which depending on the level of integration in the society also has a potential of becoming part of the official cultural memory.
The memory mediation, which takes place in the artworks, includes a rich verity of formative and conceptual artistic takes that go beyond a linear and hierarchic understanding of time and space.
The presentation revolves around three case studies of artworks respectively by Vladmir Tomic, Damir Avdagic and Ismar Cirkinagic, which all in different ways problematize the notion of memory and thus help define important aspects of the diasporic inbetweenes.
Jelena Milušić (vocal) and Atilla Aksoj (guitar) are musical duo called Barimatango recognized for their subtle and emotional expression of Sephardic and Romani music.
Through their unique interpretations, Jelena and Atilla revive melodies and stories that lead us to some distant worlds, presenting their vision of these magical worlds, their strenght and their beauty.
In the spring of 2020, Barimatango’s album “Yo hanino, tu hanina” was published, and it contains 10 selected Sephardic songs, including songs by Flory Jagoda, renowned composer and singer of Sephardic music, whose work is the inspiration and the basis for this album.
The spirit of Spanish music is strongly felt in several songs, which is to be expected, since the Sephards are originally from Spain. Some songs contain irregular rhythms characteristic of Middle Eastern and Balkan music, while some have a regular rhythmic system characteristic for music from Spain.
The album “Yo hanino, tu hanina” is excitingly musically tailored, representing a beautiful contribution to the preservation of Sephardic music. On top of all that, this album allows the listener to travel to different places and to experience a diverse Sephardic culture through the colors of tones and moods.
Expressive and bold, Jelena Milušić is a singer who easily transforms her voice to the needs of various genres. Being fluent in different musical idioms ranging from Blues, Jazz, Rock to traditional Balkan and World music, she has performed in a wide variety of musical styles and settings.
Atilla Aksoj is connected to music in many ways: as a music producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound engineer. He founded the music studio BARAKA in Mostar, where he works on music for the theater and different music projects. Atilla is the producer and guitarist of the bands Zoster, Arkul and Barimatango.
Film: The Euphoria of Being
84 min, Director: Réka Szabó
Viewing of the documentary film
Éva Fahidi was 20 years old when she returned to Hungary from Auschwitz Birkenau. She was left alone, 49 members of her family were murdered, including her mother, her father and her little sister.
70 years later, aged 90, Éva is asked to participate in a dance-theatre performance about her life.
Réka, the director imagines a duet between Éva and the young, internationally acclaimed dancer, Emese. Two women bodies interact on stage… Old and young, we witness their stories intertwine.
Three women – three months – a story of crossing boundaries.
Whilst key moments of Éva’s life are distilled into theater scenes, a powerful relationship forms between the three women.
Docu Talents from the East, 2017, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic / Baltic Sea Forum, 2017, Riga, Latvia / MEDIMED 2017, Barcelona, Spain / Locarno International Film Festival, Critics Week selection (Semaine de la Critique, 2019) Award: Grand Prix (Grand Prize of the Critics Week) / 25th Sarajevo Film Festival, Competition Programme, Documentary Film (2019) / Award: Human Rights Award / VIFF, Vancouver International Film Festival / Minsk International Film Festival, Listapad / Award: Audience Award for Best Documentary Film / Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival / Award: Hungarian Audience Award / IDFA, International Documnetary Filmfestival, Amsterdam / Desiré Central Station Contemporary Theatre Festival (2019) / Human Rights Documentary Film Days Izmir (2019) / Trieste Film Festival (2020) / Award: Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film in competition and Balcani Caucaso / Transeuropa Award / Magyar Mozgóképszemle 2020 / Award: Best Documentary Film / Temple Har Shalom Park City (2020) / Greenwich International Film Festival (2020) / DOK.fest München (2020) / Award: kino