CIVIC WOMEN:community visions
The two year cross-cultural collaborative project kicked off at the ArtMill Barn Gallery July 29, 2018. It is part of a larger co-operation that ArtDialogue is engaging with other art + farmers + civic groups across Europe culminating in the 30 year anniversary of the "Artists' Revolution" in former Czechoslovakia.
Susanne Cockrell (USA)
Mine Ovacik (Turkey)
G.E. Patterson (USA)
Adonis Volanakis (Greece)
CURATOR: Lydia Matthews (USA/Greece)
CO-CURATOR: Barbara Benish (USA/Czech Republic)
PRODUCER: Art Dialogue
LOCAL WOMEN PARTICIPANTS:
Bahar Behbahani's research-based practice approaches landscape as a metaphor for politics and poetics. Born in Iran and based in New York City, her work has been featured in a solo exhibition, Let the Garden Eram Flourish, curated by Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire, USA). Her paintings, drawings and videos have also been exhibited at The Drawing Center, Thomas Erben Gallery and Wave Hill Garden (New York, NY), The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (East Lansing, MI), 11th Shanghai Biennale, (Shanghai, China), Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center (Athens, Greece), Etemad Gallery (Tehran, Iran), 7th Moscow Biennale (Moscow, Russia), Sharjah Biennial 10 (Sharjah, UAE), 18th Biennial of Sydney (Sydney, Australia) and Cité International des Arts (Paris, France). See: http://www.baharbehbahani.com/
Elaine Buckholtz is Professor at Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, USA). As a multidisciplinary artist she uses video and light in relation to sculptural forms, digital prints, and pre-existing sites in architecture and nature under the cover of darkness. She has exhibited in the U.S. at Wexner Center For The Arts (Columbus, OH), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), Yerba Buena Center For The Arts and The Luggage Store Gallery (San Francisco, California); as well as internationally at The Lumiere Festival (Derry, Ireland and Durham, England), Go Viral Festival (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Souzy Tros (Athens, Greece), Backyard Stories Festival (Batumi, Georgia), Swiss Technorama Museum (Winterthur Switzerland), Pierogi Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany), and Ceramic Amphitheatre Art Center (Mihama-Aichi, Japan.) See: https://www.elainebuckholtz.com/
Susanne Cockrell is an Associate Professor at California College of Art (San Francisco, CA, USA.) teaching in the area of social practice and community engagement. Focusing on relationships between poetics of daily life, place and social form, her works in performance, film, installation, and context driven public projects have been exhibited at the Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA), Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, CA), SF MOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Capp Street Project (San Francisco, CA), San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (San Jose, CA), Hirschorn Museum (Washington DC), Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH), Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor, MI), and Semena De Cine Experimental (Madrid, Spain). See: https://fieldfaring.wordpress.com.
Sarah K. Khan is a multimedia maker/scholar who creates prints, photography, films, textiles and texts about food, culture, women, and migrants. She is based in New York City but has lived with Bedouins in Palestine, documented the plight of Indian women farmers, traversed Queens NY, and worked among women cooks and farmers in the walled city of Fez, Morocco. Her artistic and scholarly research work has been published Women and Migration: Responses in Art and History, AAWW Open City, Roads and Kingdoms, Culinary Backstreets, The Art of Eating, Modern Farmer, Yahoo India, The American Botanical Council’s Herbal Gram, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and The American Journal of Health Education See: http://sarahkkhan.com/
Meeta Mastani is a Delhi, India-based print/dye artist, design specialist and community development advocate and co-founder of Bindaas Unlimited. For the last 25 years, Meeta has worked at the intersection of sustainable development, culture, craft, design, arts and retail, helping to generate livelihoods for marginalized individuals and communities. Her work has been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, WI, USA), Fermentation Fest (Reedsburg, Wisconsin, USA), Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and Zuiderzee Museum (Enkhuizen, Netherlands.) She has taught as a Guest Artist in Residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, Maine, USA).
Mine Ovacik is an artist/designer based in Izmir, Turkey where she serves as Associate Professor Dr./Head of the Industrial Design program at Yaşar University. Her research-based design work is focused on contributing to the fields of ecologically-oriented/sustainable material design, cultural heritage, crafting toys and games for children with a variety of physical abilities, and developing participatory, collaborative design methodologies with members of various marginalized communities, including women and immigrants. She has published extensively and exhibited her design work in cultural centers within numerous cities throughout Turkey (Izmir, Istanbul, Sinop, Mersin) and at Kulturhuset (Stockholm, Sweden), at ICFF (NY, USA), in Graz, Austria, St. Etienne Design Biennale (St. Etienne, France) and in Nicosia, Cyprus.
GE Patterson is a poet, critic, and translator who grew up along the Mississippi River and was educated in the mid-South, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the Western United States. His collections of poetry include To and From (Ahsahta Press, 2008), and his first book, Tug (1999), won the Minnesota Book Award. With cellist Nioka Workman, he was a featured poet-performer in New York City’s Panasonic Village Jazz Festival. He now makes his home in Minnesota, where he teaches and works on collaborative, interdisciplinary public art projects including Seitu Jones’ “Create: The Community Meal”, an event which brought together 2,000 people for a civic dinner table conversation about Food Access, Food Justice, and Healthy Eating.
Adonis Volanakis is a multidisciplinary visual/ performance artist based in Athens, Greece. He currently teaches at Athens Conservatoire, the oldest educational institution for performing arts in modern Greece. Best known for his poetic, socially-engaged practice, he orchestrates “blind dates” between individuals and communities, creates video installations, performance works and art objects, instigates collaborative platforms and exhibitions, and designs/directs dance, theatre and opera. Venues include: Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center (Athens, Greece), Documenta 14’s Parliament of Bodies (Athens, Greece), Royal Opera House-Covent Garden National Theatre (London, UK); Artisterium 10 (Tbililsi, Georgia), European Cultural Centre (Delphi, Greece), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki, Greece), and Dixon Place and Kimmel Galleries at New York University (New York, NY, USA). See:
Sonya Clark is Professor of Art at Amherst College (Amherst, MA, USA). Her textile and mixed media works focus on themes of history, race, identity and the narrative power of things that are made by hand. She has exhibited at over 350 venues in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia, including The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA), Museum of Arts and Design (New York, NY), Craft and Folk Art Museum (Los Angeles, CA), Minneapolis Museum of American Art (Minneapolis, MN), Museu de Arte (Brasilia, Brazil), Dowse Art Museum (Wellington, New Zealand), Völkerkundemuseum, (Hamburg, Germany), Jean Lurcat Tapestry Museum (Angers, France), Museo Michetti (Francavilla al Mare, Italy), Natal Society of the Arts (Durban, South Africa), and National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design (Oslo, Norway). See: http://sonyaclark.com/
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Kateřina (Katka) Červená,
The Cinema House, or KINO, has always been a place where communities come together to witness worlds envisioned and created by artists. As such, the KINO offers a space for a town’s collective dreaming. It is where characters speak and metaphors abound, filling people’s imagination with stories that are at once familiar but also offer new possibilities for how to live in the world.
In mid-summer 2019, in the Bohemian village of Horaždovice, Czech Republic, the local KINO will be transformed into a hub of creative activity, community exchange and collective imagining. This site, built in the1970s during Stalinist-influenced totalitarian rule, survived the first twenty-five years of national democratic reforms after the Velvet Revolution, only to shut its doors two years ago as the town’s population dwindled and more private digital media platforms became popular. But for a short period this summer, Horaždovice's KINO will once again become animated, illuminating possible worlds imagined by local women in collaboration with international artists.
Elaine Buckholtz, 2018 at ArtMill,
portrait by Lewis Watts
Bahar Behbahani’s “Damask Rose” poses a provocative question: what stories and journeys lie concealed within a rose, with its vibrant color, intoxicating fragrance, and sharp thorns? As the national flower of the Czech Republic, the rose can be found in many families’ gardens and is a familiar motif found on Bohemian dinnerware, clothing, embroideries, furniture, etc., as well being a protagonist in local folklore, poetry and music. Omnipresent as it is in the region, this alluring flower is one that many different peoples from around the world identify as a signifier of their own unique botanical, historical, literary and culinary traditions. How do various cultures celebrate and make use of the rose? And how did the Damask rose make its journey from Syria to the Czech Republic centuries ago?
Bahar has invited our eleven Civic Women to offer their rose poems, songs, memoires and decorated objects (e.g., teacups, scarves, embroideries, jewelry, etc) to serve as props that KINO visitors may select when the artist photographs them against a backdrop, culminating in a composite portrait of a rose-loving community. Visitors will explore how roses are embedded within daily life, and what other global cultures may teach us about the potential within this seductive flower. How can we tap into the rose’s essence as a source of pleasure and therapeutic healing?
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Elaine Buckholtz + Susanne Cockrell’s “Suite for Building a Forest” is a series of participatory events that celebrate trees, community and ancestral lineages. As symbols of life, family, resilience and endurance, trees connect us to the land, to the heavens and to each other. In remembering the lives and work of early feminist writers and journalists from Bohemia, their project aspires to co-create and manifest new ways of living today. Through tree-planting on the new moon, conversations about education and radical pedagogy with local residents and communal gatherings sharing dance and music, Elaine and Susanne will embody what it means to be lively and engaged ancestors today.
During Opening Day at the KINO, the artists will share highlights of their recent activities, culminating in a participatory experience at the KINO and along the tree line at the Otava river’s edge. On the evenings leading up to the Opening Day, they will activate the town’s castle tower and the KINO’s exterior with light and shadow.
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“Of Stars, Sun and Seeds” draws attention to how we use natural phenomenon to orient ourselves in the world. For centuries people in various cultures transformed the stars into stories: they envisioned astronomical constellations as a means to help guide their movements through the land and across the seas. By paying attention to the sky, both its nocturnal stars and the sun, they could also map planting seasons and thereby nourish their families and community.
Inspired by the Civic Women's family gardens and the local custom of seed-gathering, Sonya will invite local participants to work with locally harvested vegetable and flower seeds to create solar prints of newly imagined constellations that will appear on cyanotype fabric. Cyanotype is a photographic medium that uses ferric ammonium citrate, potassium ferricyanide and the power of sunlight to make a distinctive deep blue image. It was first invented by astronomer Sir John Hershel and then used by botanist Anna Atkins in 1843 to create a visual archive of local algae species—now recognized to be the first work made by a woman photographer.
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Sarah K. Khan + Meeta Mastani
“Kolache: A Cookbook of Gestures” was conceived as a platform for exchanging knowledge about culinary and textile arts. Sarah K. Khan, a filmmaker interested stories and practices that flourish within kitchens around the world, learned that kolache is both a delicious Czech pastry and a visual expression of family identity. Women make kolache with recipes and decorative motifs that are all their own, a craft passed down from Bohemian mothers and grandmothers to their children and grandchildren. During a series of cooking workshops in the homes of our Civic Women, Sarah filmed their intergenerational hands at work, creating a video mosaic to be featured in the KINO.
Transforming local kolache motifs into wood block print designs, Sarah and her textile arts collaborator, Meeta Mastani, envisioned a textile workshop in collaboration with local artist Katerina (Katke) Cervena. Together they exchanged knowledge about different natural dyeing and printing techniques from various cultures around the world, ultimately creating a set of printed napkins and placemats which will be displayed at the KINO. Visitors will be invited to share their own family’s kolache stories and unique designs, trying their hand at making woodblock and potato prints on paper.
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In her project entitled “Toys for Togetherness,” Mine Ovacik explores how toy-making and game-playing can be used as tools to help people communicate, especially when their mental and physical abilities are very different from one another. Collaborating with Iva Fišerová, Marketa Mrazová and the children of the Specialni škola Sušice Zahrade—“The Special School in the Garden”, Mine will create design prototypes of toys, as well as movement exercises and playful exchanges in a workshop that brings people together in a pleasurable way, bridging the gap between individuals who rarely encounter each other.
Documentation of the workshop exchanges and toy prototypes will be on display at the KINO, where visitors will be welcome to test the toys, which are at once playful and serious in their purpose.
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The project by poet G.E. Patterson generates out of one animating question: “What has softened your heart?” That language of that question comes from Milushka, one of the eleven Civic Women, who said, "When a woman gets hardened, that can affect the whole family.” The goal is to offer a glimpse into the inspiration/motivation that has shaped the lives of these accomplished women. Rather than highlight these Czech women’s public efforts, G.E. has chosen to cast a small light on what might have sparked their interest in and dedication to supporting and empowering the communities that concern them.
During their time together, G.E. will be listening for inklings of answers to this question arising out of exchanges with the Civic Women. Ultimately, he will compose a poem to be shared with the public during the KINO’s Opening Day.
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In “Blind Date with Antigone in Bohemia,” Adonis Volanakis will collaborate with renowned Czech artist/theatre designer Jana Prekova to lead an intensive week-long theatre workshop for intergenerational members of the local community. Together they will explore the ideas and characters within Sophocles’ powerful Ancient Greek drama, Antigone. Adonis chose this poignant play because it focuses on the life of one young woman who is brave enough to follow the laws of her heart, even when her action breaks with societal conventions and established power structures.
Their staged performative reading will take place from 6-8pm on Saturday, August 3 at the KINO. It will also include a response to the play by several of the Civic Women, as well as an open dialogue with the audience, who will be invited to share their thoughts. Questions to be explored include: what parts of this play, written centuries ago in Ancient Greece, resonate in people’s lives today in Bohemia?
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Lydia Matthews serves as Professor of Visual Culture and Founding Director of the Curatorial Design Research Lab at Parsons School of Design/ The New School University (New York City, NY USA.) She is a curator, writer, educator, and cultural activist who works closely with visual artists, designers, traditional artisans, musicians, dancers, multidisciplinary scholars, students and local residents to envision and realize cultural projects that address challenging aspects within people's everyday lives. Her essays appear in journals and exhibition catalogs internationally. Commissioned by Fulbright, Open Society Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, CEC Artslink, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Emre Senan Foundation and the US Embassy, her participatory curatorial projects span art exhibitions, urban arts festivals, and multidisciplinary pedagogical exchanges addressing ecological and social sustainability. See: http://www.lydiamatthews.com/
Barbara Benish is an artist, writer, Fulbright scholar, and Founding Director of Art Dialogue, which produces exhibitions, workshops, and an artist-in-residency program at ArtMill, a center focusing on sustainable art and social practice in rural Bohemia, Czech Republic. She teaches visual studies and studio art in Prague and WestBohemian University in Plzen and is a Fellow at the Social Practice Arts Research Center at University of California, Santa Cruz. Since 2010, Benish serves as Advisor on Arts and Outreach to the UN Safe Planet Campaign. Her artwork is in numerous permanent collections, including the Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA) Yale University Library (New Haven, CT), Stadtgeschichtliche Museen (Nurnberg, Germany), and the National Gallery in Prague. She co-authored Art, Form and the Environment (Routledge, 2017) with Nathalie Blanc. See: https://www.barbarabenish.com/
SUMMER 2019 EVENTS:
July 27th -
Open Mill Day & Workshop:
Saturday, August 3
Civic Women: Community Visions
14:00 - 22:00
Strakonicka, 16, Horaždovice 34 101
A Public Opening of “Civic Women: Community Visions” featuring an exhibition, and participatory workshops and performances at the KINO in Horaždovice