With their texts, poems and stories, Rosa Yassin Hassan, Yildiz Çakar and Omid Rezaee made their artistic and journalistic voices heard, reflected on their own exile experiences and shared their own texts, poems and stories with the audience. The actress Christiane Filla read translations of some Arabic and Kurdish texts. The reading took place as a cooperation event of Aid A, Amnesty International at the University of Hamburg and Bucerius Law School in the Moot Court of Bucerius Law School.
Photos: Stefan Philipp
A dark stage, on the floor foliage, incense sticks, feather ornaments, masks and animal skins: The performance artist Silvanos Mudzvova is King of Mutapa and chronicler of a bygone time that still has an effect today. He slips into the role of the rulers, the conquerors, the ancestors and healers, the oppressed and tortured, accompanied by the constantly repeating sounds of the Mbira (music: Björn Norrgard). With full physical commitment and great intensity, Mudzvova conveys the suffering of his ancestors and his country. Angrily he speaks of his own pain and grotesquely demonstrates the harshness of the conquerors, rulers and rulers behind a masked grimace. History repeats itself.
It is also his own story that Silvanos Mudzvova reveals with his performance during the Tages des Exils. He, too, is a victim of the repressive regime in Zimbabwe and was arrested, kidnapped and tortured under former President Robert Mugabe for his dissident theatre work and his actions in public space, most recently in September 2016. Since then he has been paralyzed on the left.
Mudzvova currently lives and works in Manchester. In 2017 he founded the online TV channel BhanditiTV as an alternative media channel for Zimbabwe. In the same year he was awarded the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent and was nominated for the Freedom of Expression Award in 2018.
He wrote his play “King of Mutapa” in 2017 as a fellow at the University of Manchester. The premiere in Hamburg and the following audience discussion with Anna Jäger of savvy contemporary was made possible and financed by the association Aid A – Aid for Artists in Exile.
Refugee writers, journalists and bloggers write about flight, migration and integration in the anthology Fluchtpunkt:Hamburg – Texte aus dem Exil. 22 authors have their voices heard who are connected to Hamburg or who have found a new home in the Hanseatic city. The spectrum ranges from elegy to polished political essay. The reading with actress Christiane Filla took place at Bistro Roth in Hamburg.
In a contribution for NDR, the writer Rosa Yassin Hassan talks about the freedom of being able to work on her new book in peace thanks to the scholarship. In the conversation with Christiane Filla and Anna Schildt, she also talks about creative crises and the pressures weighing on her. Filla and Schildt appreciate the personal contact and are proud to be able to draw on a national and international network within a very short time in order to help persecuted artists quickly and unbureaucratically.
It was a lively exchange in the rooms of the comune in the Gängeviertel: fled artists, filmmakers, authors, actors as well as film and theatre directors informed themselves about the work and support of Aid A – Aid for Artists in Exile e.V.. They also had the opportunity to talk to artists working in Hamburg as well as representatives of universities and other Hamburg foundations to build up and deepen their networks.
More and more artists can not work freely anymore. Artists who stand for the values of democracy risk their livelihood or even their existence. They are on the run, imprisoned or not allowed to leave their country. These are not just countries like Turkey and China or Russia. In Poland and Hungary opposition artists are effectively banned from work; Theaters and festivals showing the production »The Curse« by Oliver Frljić in Poland will be canceled. The Hungarian National Security Committee declared the director Árpád Schilling a potential predator of anti-state activities.
Ai Weiwei has lived away from his Chinese homeland for two years, and his migration was not voluntary. The people he meets on his one-year journey through 23 countries are not prominent dissidents and artists. They flee from war and misery, through jungles, over mountains and seas. Ai Weiwei has traveled to Kenya and Iraq, Gaza and Italy, in Berlin’s reception centers and on Greek beaches, speaking to people who left everything behind. In impressive pictures he gives hope, deprivations and fears to his protagonists, who are representative of the 65 million who are on the run today.
Aid A introduced itself at the 25th Filmfest Hamburg. Anna Schildt and Christiane Filla spoke to over 100 acting colleagues and industry representatives in the festival pavilion in front of the ABATON cinema about Aid A’s funding opportunities and the association’s work.