Walking Arts – Art Culture & Heritage is the result of a path started in 2016 by Associazione Ya Basta in Iraqi Youth Centres which were coordinated by the NGO Un Ponte Per…to strengthen social cohesion among the different Iraqi communities through a valorisation of artistic languages.
Thanks to the music workshops held by the Italian musician Luca Chiavinato, the Ensemble Mshakht, composed by girls and boys representing a variety of ethnic and religious groups, has been build up.
Thanks to the comics workshop led by the comic artist Claudio Calia, a collective path has been started together with Karge Comics Studio in Sulaymanihya.
Since 2016 until now, a wide range of artistic activities have been carried out in the whole Iraqi territory: workshops, concerts, collaborations with civil society organisations, participation to forums on different topics, exhibitions, comics and musical publications.
Within this path, through a discussion between the Ensemble Mshakht’s components and other actors, the idea of establishing a legally recognised NGO based in Baghdad and whose aim is developing social cohesion through art was born.
Indeed, in 2019 the NGO Walking Arts – Art, Culture & Heritage and its headquarter in Baghdad have been set up.
On May 27th, a long interview with the TV Al-Iraqiyah went on air, accompanied by live musical exhibitions dedicated to the ensemble Mshakht.
In the interview, the birth and development of the musical ensemble has been presented and discussed.
In May, a comics course should have taken place in Sulaymanhya in continuity with those realised by Claudio Calia.
Considered the impossibility of travelling, the course will take place in June or July online.
March – April
Coronavirus has completely changed the scenario within the entire country. Like in all the rest of the world, Iraqi people have been obliged to stay home for the lockdown. Indeed, the pandemic has been added to an already complex situation, typical of a country living in a sort of “permanent war”. During the lockdown, Mshakht kept giving its concerts through Instagram. All of the meetings, first planned as an experiment (a really difficult one in a country where connection is slow), became the perfect mirror to show what is behind Mshakht and Walking Arts.
In March, Shirwan Can had been invited to participate at “Festival BeeComics”, after his first journey in 2019. The visit did not take place because of the flight block caused by COVID19 but it has been decided to equally publish Shirwan’s book, literally the first graphic novel og an Iraqi comics artist.
On April 5, the ensemble Mshakht gave an online concert through the Neo-Zealand radio “Voice of Aroha”. It is a radio station directed from Wellington by a group of ex-refugees with the support of the local community and whose main aim is giving voice to different cultures through the valorisation of musical traditions and political and social debates in a comfortable environment for everyone.
January – February
During the entire month, different social activities have been realised through music with the elders and people with special needs.
On December 7, 8 and 9, within the framework of the project “Arte per il Sociale”, a first training on the use of different artistic languages with a social and therapeutic aim has been realised in Sulaymanhiya at Deir Mar Musa Monastry. The formula chosen for the training has been that of sharing with international experts some “horizons” for which the different artistic languages in situation of social difficulties, disabilities and psychological traumas. The speakers intervened in a web-conference with participants in Iraq and, each session has been followed by a debate and exchanges resulted in specific activities.
After the training, Walking Arts activists travelled to Mosul to participate to the first Participatory Assembly for the first Peace Forum that will take place in January 2020.
From Novembre 25 to Decembre 10, the initiative “16 Days for Violence against Wome” took place all over the world. The campaign started in 1991 as an initiative of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute and it continues being coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership with the UN support. During the campaign, with the Italian Consulate in Erbil, a big amount of activities have been implemented, among which many have been coordinated by the NGO Walking Arts – Arts Culture & Heritage.
From October 31 to November 22, the second Walking Sounds tour, the Italian tournée of the young Iraqi musicians Saman Kareem, Niwar Issa, Zhalian K. Amed and Mohammed Abdullah took place. The tour has been an actively participated journey in Italy going from Veneto to Campania Regions. Different have been the scenarios but absolutely equal the feelings of sharing created between the Iraqi delegation and those who participated to a variety of reunions and concerts.
ITALIAN TOUR – COMPLETE INFO
VENETO TOUR – COMPLETE INFO
Tunisia: in the framework of the project “Jasmin” coordinated by the two NGOs Overseas and CEFA Onlus, the Associazione Ya-Basta started its pilot activities on artistic languages.
Claudio Calia kept three workshops and were promoted by Hiwa Foundation in Erbil, Suleymania e Baghdad, and by Un Ponte Per… in Arbat Refugee Camp as part of DIMMI project. The courses managed by Hiwa Foundation had the objective to create a new generation of comics artists in Iraq, with the final aim of realising the first International Comics Festival in Suleymania in 2020.
A new musical workshop kept by Luca Chiavinato in Niniwa Governatorate took place as part of “Malteser”, one of the Un Ponte Per… projects. Concert of Mshakht in the old Babilonia Amphitheatre to celebrate the inscription of Babilonia among UNESCO World Heritage. The concert was realised in collaboration with the Iraqi Culture Minister and it was transmitted on numerous Iraqi TV.
Concert in Baghdad in collaboration with the British Consulate, in Dohuk in collaboration with the local NGO Qandil, in Erbil in collaboration with UNDP and with KRI Government- Art & Culture Directorate and the Italian Consulate.
Concert of the ensemble in Dohuk for the Yazidi community in the occasion of Nawroz.
Concert in Najaf in the occasion of the conference “Tahawer – Understand Najaf” organised by the British Consulate.
Padua: music workshop coordinated by Associazione Ya-Basta and kept by Luca Chiavinato in collaboration with Jamigrants, in the framework of the project “DIMMI” to create a multicultural ensemble in Padua.
Participation and concert of the ensemble to the first “Water Forum” organised by Un Ponte Per… in collaboration with the iraqi NGO Humat Dijlah, in Sulaymaniya.
Meeting in Baghdad among the NGO Walking Arts and other artistic associations to plan different future collaborations.
Artistic residence in Erbil in the framework of the project “Malteser” coordinated by Un Ponte Per…with 25 young musicians coming from different areas of Niniveh plain, among which Mosul, Nimrud, Bashiqa, Qaraqosh, Menarat al Shabak and Bartella. The artistic residence gave birth to the sixth pole of the ensemble Mshakht and it finished with a concert in Qaraqosh.
Italy: comics workshops coordinated by Associazione Ya-Basta and kept by Claudio Calia for the project “DIMMI”, led by Un Ponte Per…, in Padua, Monza, Pisa with high school students.
The first Iraqi comics is published in Italy. Indeed, Oblò-APS organises the exhibition “C’è fumetto in Iraq” during “Be Comics – Festival del fumetto e della cultura Pop” in Padua, exposing 15 boards and hosting Shirwan Can, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Suleymania and main actor of the Tobacco Factory and of the Karge Comics Studio. For the occasion, the album “Un Oblò sull’Iraq”, the first anthology of Iraqi comics, is published.
”UN OBLO’ SULL’IRAQ” – COMPLETE INFO
Concert of the ensemble at Duhok Art Gallery. In this occasion, an agreement has been signed with the Gallery to keep concerts almost once per month.
Concert of the ensemble at Saad Abdullah Palace Conference Center in Erbil, organised by the UNDP in collaboration with the association Rwanga. The concert has been transmitted live by the tv networks: Rudaw TV e WAARmedia.
Participation of the ensemble Mshakht to the ICSSI conference in Baghdad to present our strategy for the coming years. This has been the first time the NGO Walking Arts has been presented.
Furthermore, the ensemble kept a concert to close the Conference.
Concert of the ensemble Mshakht in Erbil Citadel for the Organisation of the United Nations (ONU) in the occasion of the International Volunteer Day.
A concert of the ensemble Mshakht, invited by the Kurdish Parliament Union, takes place in Erbil.
First Italian Walking Sounds tour of three Mshakht musicians who will give 14 concerts together with Italian musicians and numerous meetings with more than 2000 people going from high schools, Padua university, Mogliano Veneto, Mestre, Turin, Monza, Grosseto, Pisa, Naples and Rome.
During the tour, “Mesaha Comics – Storie a fumetti dall’Iraq” directed by Oblò-APS, was exposed. It proposed artistic boards realised by Iraqi comics artists who participated to the Tobacco Factory workshop. The tour was organised in collaboration with Un Ponte Per…, Associazione Ya-Basta, Padua Municipality and Mogliano Veneto Municipality.
The comics workshop “Disegnare il futuro” takes place in Rabat, it properly represented a youth exchange among Italians, Moroccans and Sub-Saharans.
Collaboration of the ensemble with the Italian Consulate in Erbil in the occasion of “16 day for violence against women”. Workshops, meetings and concerts have been organised in Erbil, Dohuk, Sulaymaniya, Halabja and Mosul. Erbil concert, which took place in the presence of the main Iraqi and international institutions, was transmitted on live streaming from WAARmedia and Kurdistan24 TV networks.
The fifth pole of the ensemble Mshakht was given birth on this occasion in Halabja.
Concert in Baghdad at Al-Fesalya Café – Karrada.
Participation of the ensemble Mshakht at the Iraqi Social Forum in Baghdad with a concert and an active intervention to discuss the role of music in peace-building processes.
Two concerts of the enseble Mshakht in the occasion of the second Kurdistan Social Forum in Sulaymaniya.
New comics workshop dedicated to already passionate young people at the Tobacco Factory, in which the Karge Comics Studio was born. It is the first professional studio in the field of comics in Iraq.
A week-long musical workshop in Baghdad with the participation of 25 young Iraqi musicians living in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra. This event saw the birth of the fourth pole of the ensemble Mshakht (the other three were are in Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniya)
Concert of the ensemble Mshakht at Duhok Art Gallery in the occasion of the International Music Day.
The Associazione Oblò- APS, born for the dissemination of comics, hosted the first Iraqi comics published in Italy in its second release.
Concert of the ensemble Mshakht in the occasion of Mrwary Festival in Sulaymaniya.
Concert of the esemble Mshakht in the occasion of the European Union Day.
In the framework of the project “Grow Up Together”, music and comics workshops took place. During this journey, there was a first visit at “Tobacco Factory”, a huge building in Sulymaniya city center entirely dedicated to the involvement of young people engaged in cultural and artistic activities, with the support of the Kurdish Government and Hiwa Foundation.
The comics workshop took place at Sulymaniya Deir Mar Musa Monastry. Kurdish, internally displaced people and refugees participated.
The first music workshops took place in Arbat Refugee Camp for Syrians and saw the participation of 60 people. The second one took place in Deir Mar Musa Monastry. Both of them finished with two public concerts, the first one at Arbat Camp and the second one at the Monastry’s Church.
Mshakht was invited to give a concert for peace in Qaraqosh e Bashiqa by the Iraqi association Bridging Community in Ninewa Governorate, with the contributuon of GIZ, the German development agency.
First meeting in Baghdad with girls and boy of the Iraqi Social Forumto organise a workshop to replicate the Kurdish experience.
In this occasion, a meeting with Iraqi artists took place at Karrada Cultural Center to discuss the role of music within societies.
Concert of the ensemble organised by the Italian Embassy at the Iraqi-Italian Center for Archeological Sciences.
“Walking Sounds” CD, made and distributed by Caligola records in collaboration with Associazione Ya-Basta and Un Ponte Per…, was published. The CD was presented in Iraq through a series of concerts in the occasion of the first Kurdistan Social Forum in Erbil and during the ICSSI Conference in Sulaymaniya.
The book “Dispatches from the Iraqi Kurdistan”, edited by BeccoGiallo in collaboration with Associazione Ya-Basta: a comics book summing up the the Iraqi journey of the comic book artist Claudio Calia.
Thanks to the musical material recorded in Iraq and in collaboration with 6 Paduan musicians, the recording of “Walking Sound” CD was completed at Franz Suono studio in Padua.
The second edition of the training course “Story Border Balcanic Route” took place in Padua with the participation of Macedonian, Bosnian, Greek, Hungarian and Italian young people.
In the framework of “Fursa” project realised by Un Ponte Per… the first artistic residence took place in Erbil and Domiz Refugee Camp for Syrian people. Twenty girls and boys from different cities and from the refugee camp for Iraqi Kurdish people participated. The residence was implemented to offer the possibility of a dialogue among young artists from a variety of communities and cultural backgrounds aiming at building a common working ground.
After this first experience, the musical ensemble Mshakht composed of Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Yazidi, Kakai, Christian and Shabak was formed. In this first phase, the ensemble gave four concerts (in Erbil, Dohuk and Domiz Refugee Camp) and musics which will give birth to the “Walking Sound” CD were recorded.
Story Border, a training course coordinated by the association Xena and financed by the Erasmus+ program takes place in Padova. The training addresses the topic of comics as important mean of communication. Story border gave a possibility of participation to girls and boys coming from Italy, France, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia.
Saman Kareem and Hana Barzinji, two young leaders of the Youth Centers founded by the NGO Un Ponte Per…, come to Padova where they meet and know different local artists including Luca Chiavinato. In the aftermath of their lucky encounter, the idea to realise musical-artistic residences in Iraq emerges.
The comics artist Claudio Calia travels to Iraqi Kurdistan where he realises comics workshops in the Youth Centers managed by the NGO Un Ponte Per… in Erbil, Dohuk and Suleymania. During the workshops , comics were not meant to be a “training for a future employment” but as a real and fundamental mean of communication among young people coming from a variety of geographical and linguistic backgrounds. As a result of these workshops, in December 2016, “Dispatches from the Iraqi Kurdistan” has been published. It is a 48-pages album both in English and Arabic realised by Claudio Calia in order to promote the Youth Centers’ activities.