For how to gain from adversity, see the evolution of the Visual Arts Festival Damascus.
Launched in 2010 as a forum where young Syrian artists could meet peers from abroad, the second edition was called off in 2011 as violence overtook protests, and seemed impossible to continue. But rather than give up on their project, its founder Delphine Leccas and collaborator Charlotte Bank chose to transform it.
“We decided not to abandon the idea, but to look for another form, and turned the festival into a nomadic event,” Bank explains. “This means we look for partner institutions to host us and develop a focus together.”
This weekend in Karlsruhe, Germany, the VAFD looks back on its four-year journey via selected film and video works by Arab artists from Rotterdam’s International Film Festival in 2012 and media art by Turkish and Arab artists from last year’s show at Istanbul’s alternative art space “DEPO”. These include anonymous Syrian photographers’ evocations of woundedness, a collective documentary of class struggle in Ankara, and multi-media works reflecting on the legacy of Palestinian caricaturist Naji Ali.
As a whole, its constellation of perspectives presents a kaleidoscopic view of ongoing regional trajectories and intuitions.
For more info – ZKM program