On February 24th in Ljubljana, Zavod APIS / APIS Institute organised the opening of the “Art is Us” exhibition. The exhibition explores the intersection of art, and its potential for community regeneration and it showcased examples of artistic interventions and creative approaches in often overlooked communities in four countries: Slovenia, Greece, Italy, and Germany. The exhibition presented a selection the Art is Us project with a focus on good practices from more than 60 creative community interventions that supported by Art is Us project. You can watch the opening of the exhibition in full below:
Art Is Us Final Exhibition in Ljubljana
The opening began with Ali R Taha, a Syrian-Iraqi singer/songwriter, who delivered a heartfelt performance dedicated to those affected by recent events in Syria and Turkey. Ali’s moving rendition of a traditional Turkish or Syrian ethnic song touched the hearts of the attendees.
The audience was then introduced to various partners who played a pivotal role in the “Art is Us” project. ReadLab, an organisation from Greece, presented the Art is Us platform and the online course that participants had taken.
Art and Action Network – Baloon People from Greece captivated the audience next, sharing the inspiring projects they implemented in Greece to support refugees and encourage social inclusion. Pandora Kartsonaki, representing Baloon People, showcased a selection of these impactful projects.
Stefan Kiehne, founder and director of JKPeV from Germany, presented community projects that had been successfully implemented in Dresden. The projects exemplified the organisation’s commitment to intercultural dialogue and strengthening cultural values.
The spotlight then shifted to Rome, where MeltingPro presented three of the best projects created within the “Art is Us” initiative. Laura Bove from MeltingPro enthralled the audience as she shared the remarkable stories behind these projects, showcasing the transformative power of art.
As the evening progressed, the attendees were treated to another soul-stirring performance by Ali R Taha.
The stage was then set for APIS Institute, the project coordinator and partner, to showcase a selection of their most impactful projects from the “Art is Us” initiative. Romana Zajec, representing APIS Institute, presented a small selection of the projects implemented in Slovenia, demonstrating their dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion through the power of art. The presentation continued with powerful presentations by an Ukrainian artist living in Slovenia and Art is Us learner Anna Miklashevich, who coordinated a virtual artistic residency for five Ukrainian art residents that were virtually hosted by APIS Institute
Aber Al Gendy, Syrian poet living in Slovenia shared her poignant prose poetry piece titled “Throats.” Their words resonated deeply with the audience, shedding light on the struggles faced by artists in conflict-affected regions and the power of artistic expression to transcend borders.
The spotlight then returned to the Slovenian projects supported by Center Rog. Esperanza Maribel Briceno Rafeca, a visual artist from Venezuela, presented her project “The Art of Scent: Wearable Ceramic Pendulums,” which blended aromatherapy and porcelain art. The audience marveled at the innovative fusion of art and scent.
Following this, Olga Senatorova Tisler presented the project “Zero Waste Nomadic Living Room,” which aimed to promote cultural dialogue through the incorporation of nomadic lifestyle elements from Kazakhstan into Slovenia. The collaboration between Olga, Tomo Per from Center Rog, and Alja Drame from WearCrap resulted in the creation of a stunning Kazakh living room featuring traditional patterns from both countries and utilizing recycled materials. The project showcased the beauty and practicality of upcycled materials.
To conclude the event on a captivating note, Lidija Zupančič, a talented pianist and piano teacher, took the stage. With her exceptional skills honed at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Lidija delivered a mesmerizing performance of Yiruma’s “River Flows in You.” Her evocative interpretation left the audience spellbound, capturing the essence of the exhibition’s theme.
As the closing moments of the event arrived, the organisers expressed their gratitude to Erasmus for their co-financing of the project, for making the exhibition possible, and to Slovene Academy od Science and Arts for the beautiful exhibition space and the support they offered for the exhibition.
The “Art is Us” exhibition, held on February 24th in Ljubljana and organised by Zavod APIS / APIS Institute, successfully showcased the transformative power of art, celebrating the resilience of artists and promoting healing, unity, and social inclusion. The event will be remembered as a testament to the ability of art to transcend boundaries, connect communities, and inspire change.