|Edgar Lliuya (Vienna)||
© Olivia Moura
The performing artist (dance, theatre, performance art) and musician (percussion) who was born in Lima in 1958 has been living in Austria since 1979. He has devoted himself for quite some time now to cross-cultural identities as a contributor to "art in migration" magazine and to Vienna's district festival "Soho in Ottakring". His concern is to develop appreciation for the fact that migrants' culture is not limited to exoticisms, and that a blend of differing lifestyles will bring enrichment to everyone. He also wants to instil this understanding in young children, touring schools with his project "Werkstatt für Leistungsabbau", a workshop that uses social creativity to give the children of second or third-generation immigrants "a sense of being of value" free of the omnipresent pressure to perform.
"Be they in the mountains, lakes or oceans; on a wall or a fence - traces will always reappear, traces of our childhood and stories lost. Abandoned suitcases will give birth to new hopes, with old stories being draped in new language. Gurus may invent your paths anew or farewells may sink slowly beneath the horizon, but your unforgettable smile would always suffice for me to behold my whole life."
For the collaboration between artists and the population to function properly, it is important to narrow the artificial gap between them. This is a challenge which can unfold in within a process- oriented project such as 'Soho in Ottakring', an Urban Art Project aimed at learning about art and migration in practice rather than in a mainstream learning environment. Thanks to the cooperation of institutions, associations, communities, artists and citizens-initiatives, the festival has over the years outgrown its cost aspect. For this to happen, the festival's organisation is the result of a year-long effort. Contradictory concepts such as aesthetics and participation are consciously contrasted with each other to explore areas that have often been considered utopian or illusory. Art happens everywhere and not only when the market wants it to.
I think that passing on our experience from 'Soho in Ottakring' to the 'open here: consTRUCKtions - conNEXTions' project is an element in our involvement. But, at the same time, we also want to remain open to new experiences. The ways people in Europe feel about and perceive migration are very varied. This project can point up new ways of looking at the theme.