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“Socially engaged art can be empowering” – A socially engaged art project in Raseborg autumn 2017
The public premises of Raseborg got a completely new look when the international art symposium took place fall 2017. ISEAS ( International socially engaged art symposium) brought artists from various countries to Raseborg. These artists worked with various art forms, from visual arts to music and performance arts. “The idea was to bring artists from different art fields together. The symposium worked on many levels. It was interesting to see how living together for a week affected the discussion between artists. At the same time it was important to be aware of the social aspect as an empowering force in creating something new,” says Katja Juhola the art director and organizer of the symposium.
Applied arts has been quite popular lately, and one of our governments top projects. It is important to listen to the requests of public communities but just as important to remember that socially engaged arts are always about interaction. “Socially engaged arts can be empowering and that’s why it’s so important that the members of the communities get to be actively involved.” Katja Juhola states.
A whole other half of the symposium is the interaction in the art community. The artists who participate in the symposium lived together for a week, so the ideas and discussions that took place were very fruitful. Important international contacts were formed. “It is very important for me to open doors to the international field for the Finnish artists who work with the applied arts. Even though we do an important job by bringing arts to the communities I feel it’s equally important to be international and to let different art forms to work together.”
Working with different nationalities is not a new thing for Juhola. ” Working with troubled kids in a slum in Scampia, Italy made me notice how my nationality made a big difference. My nationality had a meaning in my social arts even when working abroad. In our symposium, ISEAS, Iranian artists worked with kids in a Mustio school and through arts, they were easily approachable and did not only let these children experience and create art but taught them about a different culture.”
The artist worked together in teams consisting of one international and one local artist. The work started with brainstorming and getting to know each other. The local communities have also were contacted. The communities vary from teens to grandmothers and people of all different social classes.
Altogether, 21 professionals from the art field worked through ISEAS. “There were many risks with this project but I have been an entrepreneur since 1996 so I know what it’s like to take risks. Passion is important and I did this because I believe in the relevance and importance of it. I’m a passionate artist-curator.”
ISEAS is part of the Finland 100 -project.
Katja Juhola, creative director, ISEAS
Mikko Sergejeff, HuK, Freelancer
The Symposium offers artists curatorial and logistical support to create new work. We invite artists to submit proposals for new projects working in collaboration with local artists and a community. Possibilities for socially engaged artwork will be with groups of teens, elementary, secondary, nursery schools, people with disabilities, people suffering mental health illness, and seniors.
As a documentary team will be sharing the household with the artists. This team will be filming and taking photographs throughout the project.
Evrim Özeskici & Vittorio Tonon:
Lasse Lampenius & Linda Lemaire:
Peta von Karis & Sanya Torkmorad-Jozavi:
Patrik Lemberg & Maximilian Fliessbach:
Jan Jämsén & Joan Marie Kelly:
Satu Halonen & Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi:
Matti Nordling & Delphine Manet:
Pipa Nikula & Clarice Zdanski:
Päivi Pätsi & Julia Poock: