After Subotica, we advocated for the rights and a better position of migrants and asylum seekers, and encouraged cooperation and intercultural exchange between citizens of Loznica and the people accommodated in the centres. The central event was the opening of the exhibition “Common Denominator”, and we also organised the accompanying activities.
We had established cooperation with “Aleksandrina”, the local association of women engaged in handicraft. The idea of cooperation was to establish contact between women from the local community and women residing in the Center for Accommodation of Asylum Seekers in Banja Koviljača. For months, women from the Center came to our Sofra Art workshops and showed great interest in various handicraft techniques, and we wanted to introduce them to the local group of women that shared their interests.
On July 26, activities started in “Vuk Karadžić” Cultural Centre in Loznica. Students – participants of School on Migration also supported the organisation of the campaign and the implementation of the activities. During the morning we organised an integrative workshop with women from “Aleksandrina” and women from the Center. The workshop was led by the artist Ivana Bogićević Leko, and they all spent time in getting to know each other, pleasant conversation and planning joint activities.
During the afternoon, teenagers from the Center and the local community went through the workshop “Me as a Curator”, where they were preparing to participate in the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which followed by a joint walk around the town and socializing.
The exhibition was opened on July 26 in the evening hours at the “Mina Karadžić” Gallery of “Vuk Karadžić” Cultural Centre, in the presence of beneficiaries of the Asylum Centre in Banja Koviljača, management and staff of the Centre, local officials, media, local associates, high school students and interested citizens.
Director of the Cultural Centre, Snežana Nešković Simić, talked about the fruitful and continuous cooperation between “Vuk Karadžić” Cultural Centre and Group 484, as well as the need for integrative activities for beneficiaries of the Centre in Banja Koviljača. Tamara Cvetković, program assistant spoke about the work of Group 484, and artists Luka Knežević Strika, Snežana Skoko and Ivana Bogićević Leko spoke about the social support in the centres and the origin of the exhibition. The exhibits were presented by high school students from Loznica, and fourteen-year old Zahra from Afghanistan, who lived with her family in the Centre in Banja Koviljača, spoke about her experience from Sofra Art workshops and what she had learnt there.
On July 27, during the morning, the handicraft workshop was organised at the Cultural Centre. The artist Snežana Skoko and Jadranka Baranac, Coordinator of “Aleksandrina”, showed techniques of painting silk and textile, and the workshop was attended by women from “Aleksandrina” and beneficiaries of the Asylum Centre in Banja Koviljača. Through their joint work, women learned about each other, exchanged knowledge and ideas, and after the workshop, they exchanged their works. On that occasion, further cooperation within the group was agreed upon.
The afternoon was booked for young people: screening of the Iranian film “Offside” (2006) was organised, followed by a discussion moderated by students – participants of School on Migration. Topics of the discussion were: women’s rights, legal framework for the protection of women’s rights in different societies, discriminatory practices and violence against women. The youth from the local community, as well as the youth from the Asylum Center in Banja Koviljača participated in the discussion. Everyone found the screening of the film and the discussion that followed interesting and productive, and we agreed to organise similar activities in the future.
Photos: Luka Knežević Strika
Project: INVOLVED – INclusiVe COmmunities Lead to the Vibrant SociEty without Discrimination
Goal: Project goal is raising awareness of asylum seekers and migrants, general and professional public on social, economic and cultural rights of asylum seekers and migrants
Implementers: Group 484 (Educational Program “We and the Others”)
Support: The Delegation of European Union in RS – European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), Serbian Government – The Office for Cooperation
with Civil Society