“Through Solidarity, We Survive” is an initiative that raises awareness of the social, political, and cultural effects of COVID-19 on different communities, while supporting Syrian artists during these difficult times.
coculture has established an open call inviting Syrian diaspora artists to produce new digital artworks that highlight the emerging issues emerging from the global pandemic. More specifically, the artists have been asked to reach out to a person from their surroundings (a neighbor, relative, friend, or other) to develop and produce a visual artwork with a thematic focus on shared experiences, thoughts, concerns or feelings, as such translating their dialogue into an artwork that serves as a visual document. This process focuses on building bridges within communities at the current time of physical distancing and isolation, while highlighting the impact of the current epidemic on all aspects of our daily life. The crowdfunding will be divided equally between all the participating artists, and the produced artwork will be presented in public spaces in a city campaign in Berlin.
The project’s goal is to publicly highlight the major role that creativity, imagination, and storytelling play during times of uncertainty and upheaval and to simultaneously support Syrian diaspora artists.
The Syrian artists responding to the open call are asked to produce artworks that show the impact of the current pandemic on people’s everyday lives. coculture will then use public spaces (e.g. windows, balconies, billboards, walls, etc.) as open galleries to exhibit the submitted artworks as part of a public campaign in Berlin.
To further promote the approved artworks and increase the community’s participation, a social media campaign will be established where everyone can vote for their favorite artwork. The work with most votes will subsequently be used as the main PR image for everything related to the campaign. When the lockdown period is over, coculture will also exhibit the selected artworks in its gallery space in Berlin upon an agreement with the participating artists. ( Please find the campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as on coculture.de and share it using the hashtags #throughsolidarity and #coculture.)
The rapid and unexpected spread of COVID-19 has affected every detail of our contemporary life, challenging everything that we thought of as being stable, continuous, and unchangeable. While humanity has managed to unite in the face of a hidden common enemy, the viral emergency has also strengthened a sense of profound crisis in our social and political systems. Culture is the essence of who we are as human beings: it establishes our collective social lives, binds us together, and nurtures our sense of belonging. Without a blatant recognition of the urgent need for the cultural dimension, it is difficult to envision the future as a joint endeavor of human civilization. Therefore, we believe that artists and cultural producers play a critical role in providing “alternative spaces,” which will be a cornerstone in navigating the ongoing transformations in the coming months.
Additionally, many Syrian artists have arrived since 2011 in different destinations due to the on-going war in Syria. They have faced challenges to integrate into new countries and to adapt to different local cultural scenes. After many years of work and support from the hosting communities, some of the artists managed to find their way through while the majority of them are still lacking basic needs.
The money raised in this crowdfunding campaign will be distributed among artists who participate in the open call and cover the printing costs of the posters for the public space campaign.
Following the artwork submission deadline of June 5, 2020, coculture will conduct an administrative check to ensure that applications are complete and adhere to all guidelines. Afterwards, a committee of art professionals will review the artworks themselves. Inclusivity is of utmost importance for this campaign, and the professional review is only to ensure a minimum level of effort, quality, and good faith in the submissions. The money raised here will be divided equally between all the artists whose work is approved.
As mentioned above, the selected artworks will be printed and distributed in a public space campaign in Berlin, followed by a gallery exhibition.
coculture is a Berlin-based non-profit cultural organization, founded by conceptual artist and cultural activist Khaled Barakeh in 2017. It was created as a response to the challenges faced by displaced cultural producers and works in the intersection of art, activism, and community building.
This project has outreach support from Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Ettijahat-Independent Culture, Dox Box, Create Ireland, Atassi Foundation, Counterpoint Arts and the Artist Training Program at University of the Arts Berlin and many other institutions.