The second edition of the European Arts Forum was held from the 25th to the 27th of June in Brussels. It gathered more than one hundred artists, art-enthusiasts, scholars, academics and decision-makers under the theme ‘Art and Culture: Learning how to see again’. This great event resulted in participation of people from all around Europe, who arrived for the conferences, workshops and meetings with the European policy-makers. During the whole three-day gathering, the young artists and art-enthusiasts worked together in a deeper understanding of Art, Culture and Human Dignity.
‘Learning how to see again’ is the title of an essay from Joseph Pieper’s book ‘Only the lover sings’ where he raises the issue of how much visual noise we have in the world today which can make it difficult for us to distinguish between what is important to see and what is not. During the European Arts Forum we had all the activities and exercises to discuss this issue.
Advertisements and also the entertainment industry which has become so popular with the development of technology in the past few years has made images easily accessible and what is even worse images that are fast moving so that we do not even have time to be aware of everything that we see. Pieper speaks about the importance of either fasting from technology or of exercising our artistic capacities. This is exactly why artists are so important for ‘learning how to see again’!
During the conference of Saturday Ms Mafalda Pereira da Cunha and Mr. Nikola Bolšec introduced the subject of how Art and Culture is affected by our fast and noisy society. Moderated by Ms Caroline de Dorlodot, WYA Europe Director, they went deeper into how beauty is our way out of the fast lane of society to have a closer look to what really matters in life.
On Saturday evening we had the official awarding ceremony supported by H.E. Mr. Mario Nobilo, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Belgium; Ms. Jasmina Cerneka from the Representation of the Region of Istria to the European Union; H.E. Mme. Inguna, Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to Belgium; Mme. Marina Chrystoph, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum; Mme. Julia Bucz, from the Balassi Institute; and Mme Natalia Mosor, Head of the Polish Institute. It was an amazing evening of celebration of art, culture, beauty and Human Dignity through exhibition and musical performances of Duo Aliada and Bianca Böhme.
The artists who attended EAF presented their artwork and showed how it is possible to learn how to go deeper in the perception of our world using their artwork. For improving those skills we worked on a collaborative piece of art under the direction of the awarded Belgian artists, Mr. Glenn Bracke, who under the theme ‘art can change your world’ inspired the young artists with his advices and examples of his artwork.
The participants also had a chance to visit the European Parliament and a conference on how the political actors can support young artists and Art, Culture and Human Dignity. Our conference hosted by Mr. Arne Gericke, the Member of the European Parliament and moderated by Mr. Antoine Mellado, WYA Europe Director of Advocacy had theparticipation of Ms Ana Čorić, a professor of music; Ms Rikke Lorenzen, the project coordinator of Music Crossroads International; Ms Fabienne Metayer, from the European Commission and the Belgian artist Mr. Glenn Bracke, who shared their own thoughts on the importance of the political sphere to promote art and culture in the society as means to grow in free dom and as an expression and protection of Human Dignity.
Through the whole European Arts Forum we had the support of the Erasmus + program, the Representation of the Region of Istria, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Balassi Institute, as well as some volunteers like our photographer Olga Karamichailidou, Mariana Batinic and Jasmina Saric
The objective of the event was to teach others the importance of seeing what we ought to see which is ultimately that every human has a universal and inalienable dignity. EAF demonstrated how artwork, in particular created by young artists, has this power. When people are reminded of the fundamental truth of human dignity they are capable of truly seeing again. EAF’s objective was not only to spread this important message but also to reach out and practically support artists with this capacity by giving an opportunity for them to gather with fellow artists to support each other.
The European Arts Forum was co-funded by the European Union.