THE TALK GUESTS in Frankfurt
Founder of aptART
Talk on: Saturday, 7th, 2014 + Sunday, 8th, 2014, 1PM
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOUND aptART?
“I founded aptART with the idea that investing in children is solution to most of the problems we face in society today. If we want peace in this world and we want sustainable change (which presumable most of us do) we must focus on the next generation. Ensuring not only their physical, but mental wellbeing. In giving voice to youth, we empower them with ideas that they will be the ones to build a better future, one defined by peace and mutual respect. Children are extremely malleable, they will become a product of their environment, thus we aim to create a positive environment where they are respected and valued as individuals.”
WHAT ARE THE MOST REWARDING MOMENTS OF YOUR WORK?
“The most rewarding aspect of my work is when the children, their families or the local staff tell me the project made them happy or taught them to think about life differently. We work in some pretty tough places and it's often hard to overcome the struggles these people face. Many of the people we work with have lost family members, live on the streets or in refugee camps, they are watching their homes and country be destroyed. So, to bring a smile to someone´s face or help them to see something positive in such a bleak environment is a challenge and when we are successful at rising to that challenge, there's really nothing better!”
WHAT FUTURE PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE PLANNED?
“Well, I've usually got about a million and one ideas bouncing around my brain, but I am working on being a more realistic person these days. We're a relatively small team but we've got big ideas! We're putting together a regional response to the Syrian refugee crisis working in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and more in Jordan. I'm also developing projects in Afghanistan and returning to DR Congo later in the year.”
Interview with Samantha Robison on Voices of Youth:
award-winning Multimedia Journalist
Talk on: Saturday, 7th, 2014 + Sunday, 8th, 2014, 2PM
The Australian Tracey Shelton works across platforms as a writer, photographer and multi-media producer, who specialized on covering the conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa since 2009.
In 2012, her photographs of a Syrian tank attack on rebel fighters in Aleppo gained significant attention from mainstream and social media. She also covered the Libyan civil war and obtained exclusive footage of Muammar Gaddafi's death, which led to a UN enquiry. Shelton has won many international accolades for her work including a George Polk Award, an Overseas Press Club honour and an award of excellence of the renown Pictures Of The Year International.
Tracey first entered Syria in the beginning of 2012, lived in Aleppo and experienced the crises of the country through the eyes of its people. Her stories speak of the atrocities of war but also of the beauty of friendship. During her stay in Frankfurt and her talks on Saturday and Sunday, 7th and 8th, 2014, she will not only show and talk about her video footage and documentary short films, but will also share her personal stories of being a journalist who can only watch but not intervene, who makes friends and looses friends in this war and still continues to have faith in humanity.
Artist, Head Curator & Coordinator of the COLOURS OF RESILIENCE exhibition in Frankfurt
Workshops for school classes:
Monday, June 9th – Friday, June 13th, 10 AM - 2 PM
Monday, June 16th – Thursday, June 19th, 10 AM – 2 PM
Known to Street Art circles as “Hera” since 2001 Frankfurt-born Jasmin Siddiqui travels the world beautifying neglected parts of cities by painting large-scaled murals, exhibiting canvas works in galleries, fairs and museum shows, and giving talks and lectures on the impact of Art in Public at universities. Together with her colleague Falk Lehmann aka “Akut” she forms the artist duo “Herakut” and is featured in numerous books on Urban Art culture and graffiti. Their own books “Herakut – The Perfect Merge” (2008) and “After The Laughter” (2012) are being published and distributed by Publikat Verlag in Europe, Ginko Press in the U.S. and Page One in Asia. The title of the 10 x 15 meter-large mural in Jasmin´s hometown Frankfurt (on Große Eschenheimer, corner Stiftstraße) is a compact description of Herakut´s motto in live and in art: “There Is Something Better Than Perfection.” To Jasmin Siddiqui and her colleague Falk Lehmann, it is: humanity.
Being great admirers of Samantha Robison´s restless humanitarian efforts of reaching out to young people in need of inspiration and a chance to express their own thoughts, both Herakut artists joined the aptART-team. Together they traveled through cities in North Jordan involving Jordanian and Syrian children in mural workshops and worked inside the refugee camp Zaatari. In late July they will work inside a Syrian refugee camp at the Turkish border.
“To me it is all about social-political involvement. I don´t pretend to understand the twisted war economics and geo-political strategy games the people of power are playing. I just know that there are weak ones who have been robbed of their normality, their safety zones and future-plans – not to mention their material losses and the loved ones who died in this war. So, when I see them, the ones who suffer, I see myself, as there is no difference between us really. And I would want someone to help me cope. Treat others like you want to be treated yourself! It is as simple as that.” (Jasmin Siddiqui)
Vice Executive Manager PRO ASYL e.V.
Talk on Saturday, June 14th, 2014, 1PM
As qualified social worker and expert on German asylum law Bernd Mesovic has been fighting for the rights of refugees in Germany and Europe for over thirty years. He is Vice Executive Manager of the non-profit human rights organization PRO ASYL that emerged in 1986. Together with his colleagues from PRO ASYL Mesovic gives a voice to people who run from war, from political, religious or ethnical prosecution, from torture, rape and existential destruction – people who have run into an unsure future full of ignorant authorities, restrictive laws and no lobby at all.
The most important activities of PRO ASYL are: Assisting and helping in individual cases by connecting aid-seeking refugees with law experts and volunteers. Another aspect of PRO ASYL´s work is in public relations, researching, supporting local groups, funding legal aid, ongoing action and European cooperation, making the publics unwelcomed topic of refugees-affairs visible to media whenever possible.
“All these activities serve the purpose of approximating people on the individual, social and political level to the situation of refugees and asylum seekers. At the same time, PRO ASYL wants to counteract the existing racist tendencies in our society through information based on facts and organization of social opposition. Whether it is the erosion of asylum laws, dramatic individual fate, rights of children of refugees, scandalous social discrimination of asylum seekers or about regulation concerning the right of residence. PRO ASYL stands up in public for shaping a more humane and open society.” (excerpt from website www.proasyl.de)
Lord Mayor of the City Frankfurt a.M., Schirmherr/Patron of the COLOURS OF RESILIENCE exhibition in Frankfurt
Peter Feldmann holds a degree in political science and social sector economics. He worked as a lecturer at the Management Institute for Politics, History, and Constitutional Law, became the Managing Director of the youth organization “Die Falken” in 1988, and later served as head of the Training and Youth Center in Frankfurt’s Bonames district, with a special focus on certification programs for disadvantaged youth. Starting in 1996, he worked as primary consultant for the Joint Welfare Association, helping to design a strategy to strengthen the influence of local authorities in a decentralized manner on sociopolitical issues. In 2008, he took over as the Managing Director of the “Kurt-Steinbrecher-Haus”, an assistance center for the elderly. In this position, his area of emphasis was the welfare of seniors and expanding the services offered by homes for the elderly, such as collaboration with hospitals as well as the improved and reliable availability of services to senior citizens.
Peter Feldmann joined the SPD party already at the age of 16 to commit himself to our society’s fundamental issues. From 1989 to 2012, he served as City Councilor on Frankfurt am Main’s City Council, on which he served as the Chairman of the Steering and Finance Committee for many years. He was also on the Committee for Health and Social Affairs, and held the position of party spokesman for youth and social affairs. He has been an SPD party executive since 1993 and served as his party’s deputy chairman from 2004 until he assumed office as Lord Mayor in 2012.
The positions Feldmann has held professionally and politically are characterized by a desire to take charge and assume responsibilities. For many years, he has been an advocate for international openness and tolerance. Key areas of involvement include safeguarding the quality of life of the elderly, care for the unemployed and his work with children and youths, which makes him the perfect fit to take patronage for the aptART-project in Frankfurt.
Musician, Lecturer & Chairman at OMM (Orientalische Musikakademie Mannheim e.V.)
Friday, June 6th 2014, 6 PM, opening night
Friday, June 20th 2014, 6 PM, World Refugee Day
The Mannheim based Mehmet Ungan holds a degree in sociology but is a musician as much as a social worker for over 20 years, which is why he manages the non-profit organization “Oriental Music Academy e.V.” that focuses on intercultural exchange and education of underprivileged youth. In his workshops his young audience learns to handcraft their own instrument, and use these tools to express themselves to others.
Unga is an expert on the oriental music instruments Oud, which is considered the ancestor of the guitar, and the Sufi-flute Ney. His knowledge on these ancient, dignified instruments Ungan passes on as an associate professor at the Goethe-Universiy in Frankfurt, and in his classes at the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim. He is founder of the “Sufi-Society Gayanshala” and the music group “Hosh Neva”, and he will intone the aptART short films with his live-music, instrumentally and vocally, on June, 6th, and June, 20th, 2014, at the COLOURS OF RESILIENCE exhibition in Frankfurt.
Talk on: Saturday, June 14, 2014, 2 – 3 PM
After getting her degree in English literature at Damascus University Syrian born Ruba Alkudsi worked as a writer and journalist for various media outlets, such as the weekly newspapers Aliqtisadia and the Alwatan Daily, as well as the monthly magazine Johaina. Alkudsi also worked as the chief editor for the NGO section at DayPress (an online platform with a focus on Syrian, Arabic and international politics, economy, NGO work and social issues).
Like it did to all her Syrian countrymen, the war changed Ruba´s life completely and affects it every day. Physically she now is 3.000 km away from turmoil and destruction, but her mind is still occupied with worries on the many loved ones she had to leave, when she and her husband decided to take their children out of school and college to move to Germany in 2012. Through all sources of media she the journalist constantly follows the events, collects facts and stories on family and friends but also on former journalist co-workers and NGO-projects she used to be involved with, and assists other Syrians who have made it safe to Germany but are stuck in German asylum law paperwork and welfare questionnaires. “Only crisis can make you see the truth of the people around and the truth of life itself“, says Ruba and proves herself to be a role-model of dignity not only for her own daughters.
Through their music the band members of Lalla Chaouen form a bridge that connects Europe and North Africa in a wonderfully passionate and creative way. It borrows its name from the Moroccan city of Lalla Chefchaouen, home to the band´s leader, drummer and percussionist Mohammad Ali Kasri. Together with Kasri, his arrangements and song writing, performs
the band´s “golden voice” Adnan El Khaldi, Max Clouth on his guitar, saxophone artist Max Härtel and Gnawa musician Houssaine Koyo, using oriental instruments with a special kind of heritage, like for example the “guembri” or an instrument called “qraqabs” – heavy iron castanets that are meant to remind of the sound of the chains on slaves. That way the work of Lalla Chaouen is not only the creation of their own music but also the preservation of their cultural heritage.
THE TEAM in Jordan
Project Manager & Artist
LUC VAN DER WALT