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Creative Culture Talk: Arts & Conflict

How artist deal with conflict situations
Creative Culture Talk

The first Creative Culturele Talk of this season on September 26th is about artists who, in present or past, have dealt with conflict situations. Listen to Wasim Arslan, Danielle Zawadi and Lema Salah reflect on their time of being an artist in time of conflict.

In recent times we have seen how fragile our freedom and security are, due to the wars in Afghanistan and Ukraine that have deeply affected our society. These urgent developments require immediate responses. But while journalists often focus on political analyses that make complex situations quickly manageable for news outlets, it is artists’ stories that offer new, diverse, creative and nuanced insights.

This creative culture talk focuses on artists who, in present or past, dealt with conflict situations. How do individuals in the arts and culture sector respond to conflict situations through their literature, poetry, photography, theatre, dance or music? What impact does a conflict situation have on an artist’s work? Does the urgency make artists want to convey a political message or does art serve as an escape outlet? Or is there no room at all for art in extreme conditions? Can art become part of the healing process as a (former) refugee? And how can cultural institutions help creating space for these artists and their work?

During this session we focus on stories of artists from (post)conflict areas, their work and their reflections on the positionality of artists in times of conflict. These conversations will be alternated with performances by our speakers.

Wasim Arslan.

Wasim brings the rich heritage of the Arabic music traditions to the present day through acoustic and live electronic music, building bridges between the old and the new. His music is focused on love, beauty, peace and togetherness through classical poetry, folk music and rich melodies.

Having experienced the devastating war in Syria and displacement of his family, Wasim found both passion and purpose in music while starting anew in The Netherlands. He discovered music was a way to empowerment, healing and self expression, while bringing people together. Being involved in various projects he aims to represent Syrian culture and heritage. For example he contributed to the first Syrian festival in The Netherlands The Light Side of the Full Moon Festival (2017).

Daniëlle Zawadi

Daniëlle is a spoken word artist and writes prose. Her stories mostly focus on what it means to be young in the Netherlands as someone of the second generation: born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in the Netherlands. Zawadi addresses topics related to her bi-cultural background, friendship and aging. She has published works on various literary platforms and made her debut at age 12 with ‘That’s What We Call Quarrel’.

In 2021 she made her debut in the theater world with her one-woman show ‘Please, Zawadi’ – played at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival and The Black Achievement Month The Hague. Because of her passion for writing, she initiated a platform for word art in The Hague: Het Zwarte Schaap. She was also a participant in the Letterenfonds’ Slow Writing Lab, and she was coordinator of Poetry Circle 070.

Lema Salah

Lema is a historian and diversity & inclusivity expert. Currently she works as a PhD candidate at Radboud University Nijmegen (Political Science). In her research she has explored UN gender policies during the interventions in Afghanistan. She was born in Afghanistan and raised in The Netherlands. She will address her work in the area of conflict studies, gender policies and Afghanistan.

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