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Iraq - Walking Camp Art Trip Festival

From 2 to 6 June, artists from all over Iraq met in Sulaimanhya in the spaces of the Cultural Factory to give life to the first edition of Walking Camp, called Art Trip Festival.
About seventy artists, organized into ten local Delegations from Baghdad, Tikrit, Nineveh Plain (Mosul, Bashika, Bartella), Erbil, Duhok, Sulaimanhya. Kirkuc, Najaf, Halabja, Basra lived together, played, acted, danced in a shared way.

Art Trip Festival was a full relational immersion between all the participants, who fully shared all five days spent together.

Sharing formal and informal moments has created an intertwining of continuous exchange, a flow in which to enhance the personal characteristics of the various delegations in a common space. The environment that was created was particularly welcoming and allowed full participation in all the activities of the women present.

The days were held with a part dedicated to workshops and one to performances, but in reality the division between the two was certainly not clear given that the entire Festival was an opportunity for growth, learning by doing on artistic languages, on collective creation, on the realization of community artistic events.

Each delegation had prepared its own performance.
The commitment in the preparation and execution of one's performance, the attention to detail conveyed the tension towards socialization, the desire to make oneself known, to bring out one's background and the collective work of creation.
The performances brought the many traditional instruments of the country to the stage in addition to the harmonies.

A parade of music among the many sounds of the whole Iraq, arranged and presented with great attention both to traditions but also to modern melodic elaboration.

The music was accompanied by dances performed together, highlighting the steps of the many dances typical of the different locations.

In addition to the performances that followed on stage, there were countless improvisation moments, which made it possible to develop group creativity in a joint composition.

Musical and dance performances in which the moment of the meeting came together, the contribution of all, the creation of something that is much more than the sum of its parts.

Worth noting was the creation of a theatrical performance which closed the Festival, prepared by Jummarts of Basra, a collective of music, theater and cinema, in collaboration with the Sabunkaran Theater Company of Sulaimahnya. A performance that has not gone unnoticed and that has stimulated new perspectives on the use of theatrical languages. The presence of the Jummarts artists of Basra, engaged in the construction of the path to structure an Academy of the arts, was significant in particular because in the near future Walking Arts NGO will be engaged with them in a series of activities to support them in the realization of their purposes.

Training workshops

During the days, as scheduled, specific training activities were carried out, through formal and learnig by doing practices.
* Audio techniques
The international expert Francesco Fabiano supervised and collaborated with the Iraqi and Syrian group in managing the audio and lighting system. This allowed young people to acquire new knowledge from the positioning and wiring of the instrumentation, to the sound check up to the execution of live moments.
* Video
The expert director Valeria Fabris, who edited the docufilm Mshakht A Journey, he supervised and collaborated with the Video and Photo Group. With the shooting, a minivideo and video clips dedicated to the event will be created.
* Soundtracks
The training was organized by the international expert Sergio Marchesini, film composer, and involved the analysis of the different characteristics of the soundtracks and the different approaches of the composers in relation to directing, the deepening of the theory of the relationship between music and image, the role of sound and music in storytelling and the different sound strategies. At the end, exercises were carried out through the creation of musical bases on footage clips, followed by a critical discussion of the work carried out.

* Comics
The training course in comics, edited by the Italian cartoonist Claudio Calia was structured in two parts: one dedicated to comics as a language and another articulated in technical exercises of realization of specific drawings in sequence. All materials (videos, sketches, drawings, executive tracks) were socialized by the trainer to the participants in digital form.
At the end of the Festival Claudio Calia stayed in Sulaimanhya to carry out with Iraqi cartoonists a specific workshop for the creation and management of a specialized Comics magazine, in which the various characteristics of the publications (themed, anthological, of criticism), the techniques of layout, editing, promotion and distribution.

In addition to the workshops planned with the presence of international experts, three workshops self-managed by the participants were held: one on the theater, animated by Jummarts of Basra and the Sabunkaran Theater Company of Sulaimahnya, another dedicated at percussion curated by the musician Hussein al Harbi from Baghdad and the third on oud curated by the musician Cihgir Amedi from Duhok
These moments were well attended and represented a strong opportunity for horizontal sharing of knowledge.

In addition to the artists of the Local Delegations and participants in the Workshops, the Festival was open to the public in the evenings. Citizens, young people and adults, of Sulaimanhya were thus able to attend the performances, participate in the dances and get to know the experience of Walking Arts NGO.
The heads of associations, networks and groups involved in the social sector have passed through ATF and there have been journalists who have given extensive televised news coverage to the event throughout Iraq.
The motivations and stories of the participants in the Festival were collected in various television services. Below is the service of Kurdistan 24 in which various Iraqi and international artists speak, such as Sergio Marchesini and Claudio Calia telling the workshops on the various artistic languages ​​and the exchange of experiences.

At the end of the five days spent together, the artists left, enriched and full of emotions created by intense sharing of informal moments, of exhibition, of improvisation, exchange of knowledge, acquisition of new techniques. Individual growth in addition to strengthening of collective belonging to a common path.

Art Trip Festival provided ideas to explore new ways of collaborating, cooperating and relating to others in a constructive way, inventing, imagining and concretely planning new collective stages.

The women present present felt at ease and participated without problems in the various activities. Their presence also had a very positive impact on the people who attended.

The comparison with other experiences made it possible to elaborate traditional parameters and notions with innovative stimuli provided by the exchange with other artists and with international experts.

Walking Art NGO, as an organization not only able to manage complex events but able to be a real point of reference for artists from all over the country, emerges from the activity, for the construction of positive experiences.

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Walking Camp - ATF: disegno di Claudio Calia

Walking Camp - Art Trip Festival was supported by CCFD Terre Solidaire and Terres des Hommes Germany and concluded the activities of the Here, Now, Together Project with the contribution of FAI - Fondation Assistance Internationale.