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Swiss Initiative

How can diplomatic conflict mediation be supported by art? Following initial steps in to address this question (Art in Dialogue), artasfoundation was able to persuade Swiss diplomats to join together in the venture. To this end, the Swiss Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Alexandre Fasel, invited 14 people from the field of art and conflict mediation to a colloquium, Art in Mediation, in his residence in June 2015. Due to the lively exchange of ideas, both sides recommended a more in-depth exploration of the opportunities for cooperation. After his appointment as Ambassador in London, Alexandre Fasel continued it in several rounds of talks with artists andpeacebuilding experts, and then announced a one-year research grant in 2019 for concentrated work on this question. artasfoundation was able to support this process and is now active in cooperating in the ongoing research process.

Jour Fixe on 20 October 2021, 17.15 h, Swiss time

During the upcoming Jour Fixe we will have the opportunity to compare the work of artasfoundation in Eastern Europe with the work of a similar organisation in Pakistan.

The Pakistani-Swiss artist and art therapist Habib Afsar returned to Karachi in Spring 2020 after several years of living in Switzerland. There he founded the Centre of Art-Based Methodologies & Wellbeing (CFAW), which works on a project basis with participatory art-based interventions. At the beginning of the pandemic, the CFAW was responsible for artistic workshops as "stigma prevention" for people who were in (state-imposed) isolation due to Covid-19. Currently, the centre works with communities that have fled Afghanistan, and conducts projects that have been running for some time. Mara Züst, who regularly works with Habib Afsar, was a guest at the CFAW in August and had the opportunity to get to know the work of the centre in detail.


In the Jour Fixe on 20 October, Habib Afsar and Mara Züst will discuss their respective current projects Mai-Karachi. Cultural Mapping Project (Afsar) and Chapakhana Archive (Züst) and will present their different approaches to collaborative work. This also with regard to the project Mini-Museum Me. Museum of Community for Blickfelder 2022. 



The event will be hybrid, taking place both on site at Lindenbachstrasse 21 in Zurich and in virtual space. 



Zoom-Link
Meeting ID: 654 9227 4516
Password: 563518

artasfoundation invites you to its regular meeting Jour Fixe every 3rd Wednesday of the month to discuss ongoing projects, issues related to the foundation's work, and relevant political developments. Since Covid-19 started, we have been holding the Jour Fixe online via Zoom, offering the possibility for people to attend from further away. Depending on the participants, the discussion will take place in English or German.

If you wish to be informed about the agenda each month, please sign up on our Jour Fixe invitation list here.

Circular

From the current circular

Everything is prepared, the cold season is over and it is time to commence our projects. In the village of Tavush in Armenia, Hermine has prepared her garden. We visited her three weeks ago because we too were preparing. We were meeting partners of both a dance project that should have started long ago and an exchange project among art teachers. We asked Hermine how she sees the future, now that the war with Azerbaijan is over. ‘I can't think yet,’ she said. ‘My head is in turmoil. And the future? There is still a big emptiness for me.’
In the small town of Berd near the border of Azerbaijan, Armen Melikyan, the director of the
local cultural centre, describes how the interest in art has increased ‘now in the post-war depression. ‘Because parents want something uplifting for their children, we have more requests than usual,’ he says. The invitation to our dance project comes just at the right time. This is also the impression of Shoghakat Mlke Galstyan with whom we have already worked on several projects. We supported her art initiative for Karabakh refugees while the borders were closed due to the pandemic. Shoghakat shares our desire to deconstruct images of the enemy through art activities. But she reports how difficult things are at the moment: ‘You should see the horror images that are being spread on social media right now. All our young people see them and, then, we try to tell them that on the other side of the border, there are people like us.’
How easy it is to destroy and how much time and patience it takes to rebuild!
Here we recount the steps that we currently take to support such rebuilding.