Reuben YEMOH ODOI

2016

From : Morocco
To: Greece

#Visa for Sale

Music

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

The #Visa for Sale work explores questions of identity, borders, belonging and culture. As a Ghanaian living in Morocco, a transit country for many potential African Migrants, I use my own narratives and experiences to explore these ideas, which involves a female painter also from Ghana, and also features a Cameroonian migrant who started painting his en route to Europe traumas, after being blocked in Morocco and realised he could no longer continue his journey to Europe, but could start a new life by doing arts here. This Contemporary artistic project aims at working on socially engaged, relational practices, confrontational topic-driven work, and participatory dialogues, and try bringing it to international audiences to create the chance for the artists to be known. The piece raises questions about both the political (how one speaks up or doesn’t speak up) and the social (who has a voice). I chose a groupe of 6-8 peoples to work with me and develop a journey in the city to meet migrants and undocumented people. We worked on the histories of Migrants to create a performance using all the artistic languages: dance, music and street theatre. My artistic attention is not oriented on the space limited by borders but on the movement of people inside this space. This movement produces the « soul of the place ».

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

My experience of #Visa for sale is that it solicits unquantifiable political, social and pedagogical effects. It seems to ask: What can emerge from the confluence of unexpected differences — from multiple forms of implication, identification and dis-identification? Could speak to my desire to allow the logic of viewing to do the political work of the piece, as well as to my commitment to the kind of political art that gives people the permission to disagree? The importance will not encourage changing opinions, but altering views; that is, to recast political issues through a different or unexpected lens. Sometimes that shifted view is achieved through performance confrontation; sometimes through humour or parody; sometimes via solemn solemnity. This is a way of holding on to public dialogue while avoiding public parochialism – shifting the frame, and seeing whether individuals come to think politically in a different way. It is an acknowledgement that different viewers enter political encounters in different ways (either by vision or by discourse). Another part of it is about accessing the different ways in which visual and textual modalities express and reciprocally deepen one another. A consistent aspect of the work will be a shared joy in both the poetry of pictures and the poetry of words. Needless to say, creating a safe environment is an on-going endeavour, requiring continual discussions with each other through feast, radical hospitality in contemporary art, using food as a medium. And invite politicians or diplomats from various embassies with the Greek Consulate as our special guest. The new piece might be created in the process of experimental art and will aim to be one that gets at essential differences between our distinct artistic, political, or civic worlds, and documents how bridges between us were fruitfully built and richly erased.




Roberto Cimetta Fund

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