Arts as focal point of intercultural efforts discussed at Create seminar
2017-04-01 17:02:51 -

By Michaela Miller

Collaborative arts, interculturalism and human rights were the main topics of discussion at Create Ireland’s seminar on Thursday 6 April.



Artists and activists had the opportunity to showcase and discuss their work with a room that included several members of Ireland’s migrant communities.



“I think what we are trying to do this morning is [discuss how] we are a part of a large movement of artists, art organisations and civil society groups who see a value and an importance in the intersection between arts practice and the question of interculturalism,” said Ailbhe Murphy, director of Create.



Murphy added that the seminar held at the the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was also intended to “discuss the question of how the arts can respond to a change in demographic in Ireland, and if we can really create a society where cultural diversity is part of what we experience on a day-to-day basis.



“Art is the most powerful form of expression that there is, whatever the art form, and it creates the conditions for people to express their experience.”


Guest speaker Bisi Adigun spoke about his involvement with Arambe Productions, Ireland’s first African theatre company that he founded in 2003, and for which he has written and directed multiple plays, such as The Butcher Babes (2010) and The God’s Are Not To Blame (2004).



Adigun, who migrated to Ireland from Nigeria in 1996, also discussed the politics in representation and said that Ireland can only be intercultural, not multicultural.



“I don’t call any specific place my home,” said Adigun. “What makes me an artist is that I see what Irish cannot see, what Nigerians cannot see.”



Adigun said it is important for Irish theatre to be diversified. “Someone once told me: Do not play the slave, always play the king.”



Other guest speakers who presented their work included visual artist Clodagh Emoe, who spoke about her current project ‘The Plurality of Existence’, in collaboration with Crocosmia, a group that represents refugees and asylum seekers living in Ireland.



“The point of this project was to give people a voice, and as an artist I’m privileged to do that,” said Emoe.



Marie Claire Mundi Njong, a member of the Crocosmia collective, sang two short African songs to go along with her discussion, while filmmaker Jijo Sebastian showcased one of his short films, Box (2015), focusing on the lives of the Indian community in Ireland.



The seminar also featured a keynote address from Dr Anthony Haughey with human rights activist Warsame Ali Garare, along with an address by artist Laragh Pittman.


The event was supported by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. 

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