Freedom through the eyes of women artists
The Czech Centre of Bratislava, Goethe Institut Bratislava, Institut français de Slovaquie and local partner Aparát O.Z. received a grant of € 14 990 from the ‘Culture of solidarity round 7 (2022)’ for their project “Freedom through the eyes of women artists”. This project entails the visibility of the Ukrainian culture, awareness of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, promotion of Ukrainian artwork in Slovakia, and an opportunity for young artists to build new partnerships through networking in Slovakia. Core emphasis has been put on young Ukrainian women artists residing in Slovakia and Ukraine, who express themselves through art. Project leaders Kristyna and Monika shared the project details, from ideation to implementation, and the future outlook and desired outcomes of these collaborations.
From call to action.
At the beginning of November 2022, the project team launched an open Call for Projects/ Artworks for young Ukrainian women artists to express their graphic view of freedom via posters. The project team shared the call widely among various digital channels, universities and countries, such as the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia, to increase awareness and activate multiple audiences. That resulted in a large influx of received applications, outdoing their expectations by obtaining over 80 impressive submissions. The jury selected the best 15, whom they compensated with a participation fee for their graphic work. In contrast, the best three applications had a possibility for a two-week residency in Bratislava. Eventually, only of them did the residence for five days, while the other artists could not make it or were already residing in Bratislava. During the first week of January 2023, Kristina, 1 of the jury members, held a webinar with the winning artists on freedom. The public was also highly welcome to join the open debate as an engaging medium to start discussions on expressing freedom through art. During the second stage of the activities for the winners, artists presented their works at the Bratislava Design Week 2022 festival. That was held from December 7 to 14 at the Zichy Gallery, organized by the Aparát institution. Furthermore, the three winning posters were hosted at the Zichy Gallery (alongside the remaining 12) and held at the Czech Centre, Goethe-Insititut and Institut Francaise.
The Czech Centre in Bratislava is well-established in cultural relations, art and networking. By promoting the artists’ work to the local Slovakian public in person, young artists got the chance to network locally and internationally. Some of the desired outcomes of this collaboration were raising awareness, visibility and participation in Ukrainian art and culture amongst various audiences and connecting local communities and critical stakeholders with the young new artists.
“We see it as the right choice to raise the participation of Ukrainian art and culture amongst local communities that we, as a Centre, can reach” said project leader Monika.
Looking back at this endeavour, both Kristyna and Monika, confessed their personal takeaways.
“What I took away from meeting winning artist, Elena, is that she was very happy and grateful she participated in this project. She was far from being afraid and giving her this opportunity, meant a lot to me! We connect people living in Slovakia with Ukrainian artists during local activities and through international digital awareness. Culture of solidarity is a gesture that gives these people another inspiration to go forward without giving up! With this fund, we were able to organize this project and support artists to express themselves through art”.
Even though the project is now finished, the team and the artists envision scaling it by promoting the artwork exhibition to other parts of Slovakia and more European countries. On the one hand, libraries in the Košice area have shown much interest in hosting the exhibition, which stems from the geographical relation to Ukraine. On the other hand, aspiring for more international outreach, the team is discussing moving the exhibition to Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and other countries. “Freedom through the eyes of women artists” is not only a gesture of solidarity travelling from Bratislava elsewhere, rather a call for peace and freedom.
Granted: 14 990 euros