I AM….JUST HUMAN – (and this exhibition a social dream…)
Positions FOR diversity
This exhibition concept arose from my desire to “take a stand”. To take a stand against any kind of exclusion, degradation, unequal treatment and human rights violations of groups of people or individuals in our society, which have arisen because of “xenophobia”.
Of course, there are already many exhibitions, books, plays that deal with the issue of intolerance of people towards people who are supposedly “different”. However, these are often dark, dramatic, upsetting, sad.
Here I wanted to go a different way. This exhibition was to present works that deal with the integration of individuals or groups in an imaginative, playful, surprising way. A humorous treatment was also welcome. Only when the same kind of “jokes” are allowed to be made about all groups, as with “average people”, are these groups truly integrated. All in all, however, the work should show “normality”. Because I desire (hence the subtitle) not only inclusion, but fusion in our society, in our lives.
I would like to see narrative art that takes the viewer into a world where equality and dignity for all is lived.
And the term “normality” is to be given a new statement in this exhibition – namely, for each visitor the statement that comes to his or her mind and which hopefully has expanded by a fraction after visiting the exhibition!
The following 56-page catalogue has also been published for this exhibition, in which you can also read my detailed statement in the introduction: (Unfortunately only available in German)
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Leopoldi was able to realise this exhibition together with the Kunstverein [KUN:ST] International.
Accompanying this exhibition, a panel discussion was held at the vernissage, because the topic is simply too important to have only the pictures speak. When real people talk about their real lives, it is an even more intense experience for the visitors.
The moderator was Eva Leopoldi and the guests were: Dr. Bernd Egger – Social Pedagogue and Sociologist, Family Research, State Statistical Office Baden-Württemberg, (the introductory text to the art catalogue of the exhibition was also kindly written by Dr. Eggen), Amna Shaker with her husband and 3 children – Syrian refugee family, living in Leonberg for 2 years, Manfred Alex-Lambrinos – retired prison technician and artist, Ismet Arda – owner and sommelier at Ardas Grand Cru GmbH – Leonberg, Swabian with Greek roots, Manuel Leopoldi – master student of political science and sociology.
It was a partly lively discussion, also with the audience. It was noticeable how emotionally people deal with the topic of tolerance or non-tolerance. But what impressed me most was the young Syrian woman Amna. She is a self-confident woman, wife and mother, who lives with traditions (e.g. covering her hair in public), but does not see herself as being in any way inferior to her husband. And you can feel and see that unmistakably. She rests in herself, radiates a warmth and openness that one could only wish for from many others. This encounter with the Shaker family showed me once again that living together can work wonderfully if you “just let yourself BE, as everyone individually wants to be.
Here some impressions of the discussion: