Eight visual artist, four musicians, two philosophers and almost a hundred participants gathered in Brussels for three days of reflections and celebrations for the first edition of the European Arts Forum under the title “What is beauty? What is the role of beauty in art? Should art always be beautiful?”
Everyone in the world was aware that Brussels was under an important terrorist threat, with military tanks in the streets and soldiers in every corner. However, not everyone is aware that during this same time, almost a hundred of young members of World Youth Alliance Europe were celebrating beauty in art and its relation to human dignity and human rights in Brussels. It was the best way for European youths to fight against the dehumanization of terrorism by promoting truth, beauty and human dignity.
Our forum started on Saturday 28th of November with some reflections on the deep relationship between beauty, human dignity and human rights, and the influence on each other in an historical context.
First, Mafalda da Cunha,a PhD student at the University of London, focused her intervention on the relationship between art and beauty and its clear consequences on human dignity. Then, Karel Bartak from the European Commission made a practical presentation of the different programs of the European Commission to promote young artists and European values. The last panelist of the day was Hrvoje Vargic, one of the founders of WYA Croatia. He gave an inspirational presentation on “how beauty will save the world” and the political and practical consequences of art and beauty on human dignity and human rights.
Saturday evening, we concluded the day with a wonderful award ceremony of the selected artist. The ceremony was animated by different performances of musicians that were very much appreciated by all the participants. Firstly, we had a
musical introduction by a duet of viola lead by Elisabeth Kruyfhooft, after the awards Jose Ramon Campillos, a very inspiring classical guitar player, played some classical music and some Spanish “Flamenco“. To conclude the ceremony Francesco Martini made some keyboard improvisations which accompanied the many discussions we had.
Caroline de Dorlodot (Regional Director of WYAE) started the award ceremony by highlighting the transformative power of art which encourages each person to move beyond oneself, to connect with a greater community, and to contribute to society and culture. The prizes were also given by Stanislav Vallo (Slovakian ambassador), Martin Cech (from Czech republic embassy) and Liliana Jaroslavska (from Lithuanian embassy).
Artists awarded in this first edition of the European Arts Forum were:
Sunday 29th of November, all the participants had different activities to introduce new concepts, to know each other and to share ideas between them. The main activity was the negotiation of the “Declaration on Beauty in Art and Human Dignity”. This declaration, requesting support from European institutions to young artists in the promotion of beauty and human dignity was proclaimed the next day in the European parliament thanks to the support of Mr Arne Gerricke (Member of the European Parliament).
The Declaration negotiated by the young artists states among other that:
“education is a human right of every child that empowers them to flourish as a human person. It also enables them to understand the deep values of society and culture, becoming true civil actors being able to support human dignity in their traditions or in the necessary social changes. We call upon the European Union to defend the common European cultural heritage and to promote arts, through theoretical and practical age-appropriate education, from an early stage. This means, including philosophy, sociology, and history of art in the curriculum of secondary schools, to make art accessible for all without any discrimination. We think this is the best method to understand European values and human dignity”.
It was a fruitful three days of collaboration and exchange of ideas between young artists and participants full of great and inspirational discoveries. During this first edition of the European Arts Forum we have learn more about the relationship between art, beauty and human dignity, and we hope that all of the artists and participants will commit for excellence in the promotion of human dignity in their art and in their life.