CIVIC WOMEN

The two year cross-cultural collaborative project kicked off at  the ArtMill Barn Gallery July 29, 2018.  It is part of a larger co-operation that ArtDialog is engaging in with other art + farmers + civic groups across Europe, culminating in the 30 year anniversary of the "Artists' Revolution" in former Czechoslovakia. 

SUMMER  2019 EVENTS:

July 27th - 

Open Mill Day & Workshop:

14:00-20:00

Saturday, August 3rd -

Civic Women: Community Visions

14:00 - 22:00

Strakonická 16, Horažďovice 34 101

A Public Opening of “Civic Women: Community Visions” featuring an exhibition, and participatory workshops and performances at the KINO in Horažďovice.

PROJECT CONCEPT: 

The Cinema House, or KINO, has always been a place where communities come together to witness worlds envisioned and created by artists. As such, the KINO offers a space for a town’s collective dreaming. It is where characters speak and metaphors abound, filling people’s imagination with stories that are at once familiar but also offer new possibilities for how to live in the world. 

 

In mid-summer 2019, in the Bohemian village of Horaždovice, Czech Republic, the local KINO will be transformed into a hub of creative activity, community exchange and collective imagining. This site, built in the1970s during Stalinist-influenced totalitarian rule, survived the first twenty-five years of national democratic reforms after the Velvet Revolution, only to shut its doors two years ago as the town’s population dwindled and more private digital media platforms became popular. But for a short period this summer, Horaždovice's KINO will once again become animated, illuminating possible worlds imagined by local women in collaboration with international artists.

ARTISTS:

BaharBehbahani (Iran/USA) 

ElaineBuckholtz (USA)

SonyaClark (USA),

 Susanne Cockrell (USA)

Sarah K. Khan (USA) + Meeta Mastani (India)

 Mine Ovacik (Turkey)

G.E. Patterson (USA)

Adonis Volanakis (Greece) 

CURATOR:  Lydia Matthews (USA/Greece) 

CO-CURATOR:  Barbara Benish (USA/Czech Republic)

PRODUCER:   Art Dialog

LOCAL WOMEN PARTICIPANTS: 

Hanka Kalná
Božena Kodýtková
Markéta Okroupcová
Věra Knetlová
Iva Fišerová
Kateřina Červená
Paní Vlčková
Jana Turková
Eva Huikari
Markéta Mrázová

PROJECTS

Bahar Behbahani’s “Damask Rose” poses a provocative question: what stories and journeys lie concealed within a rose, with its vibrant color, intoxicating fragrance, and sharp thorns? As the national flower of the Czech Republic, the rose can be found in many families’ gardens and is a familiar motif found on Bohemian dinnerware, clothing, embroideries, furniture, etc., as well being a protagonist in local folklore, poetry and music. Omnipresent as it is in the region, this alluring flower is one that many different peoples from around the world identify as a signifier of their own unique botanical, historical, literary and culinary traditions. How do various cultures celebrate and make use of the rose? And how did the Damask rose make its journey from Syria to the Czech Republic centuries ago?

 

Bahar has invited our eleven Civic Women to offer their rose poems, songs, memoires and decorated objects (e.g., teacups, scarves, embroideries, jewelry, etc) to serve as props that KINO visitors may select when the artist photographs them against a backdrop, culminating in a composite portrait of a rose-loving community. Visitors will explore how roses are embedded within daily life, and what other global cultures may teach us about the potential within this seductive flower. How can we tap into the rose’s essence as a source of pleasure and therapeutic healing?

 

* * * * *

 

Elaine Buckholtz + Susanne Cockrell’s “Suite for Building a Forest” is a series of participatory events that celebrate trees, community and ancestral lineages.  As symbols of life, family, resilience and endurance, trees connect us to the land, to the heavens and to each other.  In remembering the lives and work of early feminist writers and journalists from Bohemia, their project aspires to co-create and manifest new ways of living today. Through tree-planting on the new moon, conversations about education and radical pedagogy with local residents and communal gatherings sharing dance and music, Elaine and Susanne will embody what it means to be lively and engaged ancestors today.

 

During Opening Day at the KINO, the artists will share highlights of their recent activities, culminating in a participatory experience at the KINO and along the tree line at the Otava river’s edge. On the evenings leading up to the Opening Day, they will activate the town’s castle tower and the KINO’s exterior with light and shadow.

 

* * * * *

 

Sonya Clark

“Of Stars, Sun and Seeds” draws attention to how we use natural phenomenon to orient ourselves in the world. For centuries people in various cultures transformed the stars into stories: they envisioned astronomical constellations as a means to help guide their movements through the land and across the seas. By paying attention to the sky, both its nocturnal stars and the sun, they could also map planting seasons and thereby nourish their families and community.

 

Inspired by the Civic Women's family gardens and the local custom of seed-gathering, Sonya will invite local participants to work with locally harvested vegetable and flower seeds to create solar prints of newly imagined constellations that will appear on cyanotype fabric. Cyanotype is a photographic medium that uses ferric ammonium citrate, potassium ferricyanide and the power of sunlight to make a distinctive deep blue image. It was first invented by astronomer Sir John Hershel and then used by botanist Anna Atkins in 1843 to create a visual archive of local algae species—now recognized to be the first work made by a woman photographer.

 

* * * * *

 

Sarah K. Khan + Meeta Mastani

“Kolache: A Cookbook of Gestures” was conceived as a platform for exchanging knowledge about culinary and textile arts. Sarah K. Khan, a filmmaker interested stories and practices that flourish within kitchens around the world, learned that kolache is both a delicious Czech pastry and a visual expression of family identity. Women make kolache with recipes and decorative motifs that are all their own, a craft passed down from Bohemian mothers and grandmothers to their children and grandchildren. During a series of cooking workshops in the homes of our Civic Women, Sarah filmed their intergenerational hands at work, creating a video mosaic to be featured in the KINO.

 

Transforming local kolache motifs into wood block print designs, Sarah and her textile arts collaborator, Meeta Mastani, envisioned a textile workshop in collaboration with local artist Katerina (Katke) Cervena. Together they exchanged knowledge about different natural dyeing and printing techniques from various cultures around the world, ultimately creating a set of printed napkins and placemats which will be displayed at the KINO. Visitors will be invited to share their own family’s kolache stories and unique designs, trying their hand at making woodblock and potato prints on paper.

 

* * * * *

 

Mine Ovacik

In her project entitled “Toys for Togetherness,” Mine Ovacik explores how toy-making and game-playing can be used as tools to help people communicate, especially when their mental and physical abilities are very different from one another. Collaborating with Iva Fišerová, Marketa Mrazová and the children of the Specialni škola Sušice Zahrade—“The Special School in the Garden”, Mine will create design prototypes of toys, as well as movement exercises and playful exchanges in a workshop that brings people together in a pleasurable way, bridging the gap between individuals who rarely encounter each other.

 

Documentation of the workshop exchanges and toy prototypes will be on display at the KINO, where visitors will be welcome to test the toys, which are at once playful and serious in their purpose.

 

 

* * * * *

 

G.E. Patterson

The project by poet G.E. Patterson generates out of one animating question: “What has softened your heart?” That language of that question comes from Milushka, one of the eleven Civic Women, who said, "When a woman gets hardened, that can affect the whole family.” The goal is to offer a glimpse into the inspiration/motivation that has shaped the lives of these accomplished women.  Rather than highlight these Czech women’s public efforts, G.E. has chosen to cast a small light on what might have sparked their interest in and dedication to supporting and empowering the communities that concern them. 

 

During their time together, G.E. will be listening for inklings of answers to this question arising out of exchanges with the Civic Women. Ultimately, he will compose a poem to be shared with the public during the KINO’s Opening Day.

 

* * * * *

 

Adonis Volanakis

In “Blind Date with Antigone in Bohemia,” Adonis Volanakis will collaborate with renowned Czech artist/theatre designer Jana Prekova to lead an intensive week-long theatre workshop for intergenerational members of the local community. Together they will explore the ideas and characters within Sophocles’ powerful Ancient Greek drama, Antigone. Adonis chose this poignant play because it focuses on the life of one young woman who is brave enough to follow the laws of her heart, even when her action breaks with societal conventions and established power structures.

 

Their staged performative reading will take place from 6-8pm on Saturday, August 3 at the KINO. It will also include a response to the play by several of the Civic Women, as well as an open dialogue with the audience, who will be invited to share their thoughts. Questions to be explored include: what parts of this play, written centuries ago in Ancient Greece, resonate in people’s lives today in Bohemia?

 

* * * * *

© 2023 by ArtDialog