You are on page 1of 14

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

Kamal Ahamada Eugenija Kovaliova

THE M.A.D. PROJECT


"When a butterfly beats its wings the force behind its delicate vibration has the power to create the greatest of changes!".

Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

The M.A.D. Project is about Making A Difference! The first project of the M.A.D. Couple is about presenting a missing picture of the Muslim population of the world aiming at dismantling popularly spread stereotypes and misconceptions that lead to general feeling of hostility and ignorance. For achieving our goal we decided to travel to Muslim majority countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine, Egypt) and to educate ourselves about arts and cultural diversity existing there. The M.A.D. project is not limited to exploring arts and cultures related to Islam, but rather focus on artistic expression of people living in those countries, whether they are Muslims, Hindus, Christians, or non-faith-based groups. Back to Europe, based on our travel, we hold presentations in schools, universities, organizations and will also facilitate workshops about cultural understanding and critical thinking in order to foster dialogue and social cohesion within Europe and the Muslim World.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

For this first initiative of the M.A.D. Project, the M.A.D. Couple is taking you to an artistic and cultural journey in South East Asia and the Middle East. Within the frame of art and culture, we propose you to explore various themes that are relevant for the understanding of the Muslim World. Our presentations will include photos, videos, discussions, workshops about cultural understanding, breaking stereotypes and critical thinking, and even live talks with artists and professionals via video conferences (if possible to arrange technically). Below you will find a list of the topics for the lectures we propose. Choose one or several topics that you wish to hear according to the need of your classroom or organization. I group: a missing picture of a muslim country - each presentation in this section focuses on a specific country or region and will try to present the diversity that exists in that country through its various forms of arts with the goal to present a different image than the one dominating mass media. Each presentation of the first group includes a workshop (if possible within the given time).

EDUCATIONAL TOUR CONTENTS


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

* Nusantara: unity in diversity (page 3) * Palestine: culture of resistance (page 4) * Egypt: art of the revolution (page 5) II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries. Each of the presentation in this group is focused on a specific art form and covers its different examples through all four countries that we have visited: * Art and activism (page 6) * Architecture of spiritual places (page 7) * Performing Arts (page 8) * Islamic art (page 9) * Visual arts (page 10) III group: Other topics. Themes that are not related to art directly, but have caught our attention during the trip: * Women in the Muslim societies (page 11) * Architecture of the occupation (page 12) * Art of noMADism (page 13)
2

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

I group: a missing picture of a muslim country

NUSANTARA: UNITY IN DIVERSITY


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Nusantara literally means the outer island and today this term is used to describe territory that includes Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, Singapore, part of Thailand and the Philipinnes. These territories were united in its diversity under the rule of Majapahit empire in XIV century. During our travel through Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia we witnessed the legacy of the uniting power of old empire: tolerance, peaceful coexistence and maintenance of respect, that were actively promoted and supported in XIV century, are still a distinct feature of the region today. Nusantara is exceptionaly rich in cultures and arts, Indonesia alone being a home to around 300 distinct native ethnicities, for example. Within 5 fruitful months we tried to collect as many examples of different arts as we could, learning on the way how many of art forms are used to serve unity in diversity. In this presentation we wish to present rich diversity of the Nusantara region through various examples of both traditional and contemporary arts, stories of artists with various religious backgrounds, and images from different parts of the region.
3

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

I group: a missing picture of a muslim country

PALESTINE: CULTURE OF RESISTANCE


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Palestine often receives very negative media coverage with the focus on suicide bombers attacks, islamist Hamas party activities in Gaza, and efforts of Israel to defend itself. News of ordinary Palestinians living their life under the occupation rarely make the news headlines and thus creates misguiding image of who Palestinians are. For about two months, the M.A.D. Couple has been exploring various peaceful forms of resistance in Palestine, something that we decided to call - the Culture of Resistance. Palestinians themselves say To exist is to resist, therefore everyday struggle became a culture. We met with circus artists, musicians, poets, animation creators, painters, peace organizations, farmers, entrepreneurs and both local and international activists, christian and muslim communities, who are all part of the popular resistance in the occupied Palestine. This presentation will focus on the everyday struggle of Palestinians to get freedom, justice and dignity with the focus on art and other cultural ways for resistance, for example - growing olive trees.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

I group: a missing picture of a muslim country

EGYPT: ART OF THE REVOLUTION


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Egypts popular perception is that of grand pyramids standing in the desert, temples designed for numerous gods and goddesses, rich history of pharaohs and intriguing hieroglyphs colourfully scribbled on old papyrus. During our stay in Egypt we looked at a totally different side of Egyptian art - the art of the revolution. Since the start of the revolution in January 2011, the Egyptian art scene has literally exploded. From graffiti painters to comedians, artists are playing an important role in the ongoing revolution. For about a month we have met different artists in Cairo that keep challenging the social and political situation of their country and exploring vast potentials of contemporary art, blending it with well known Egyptian symbols and drawing inspiration from history. This presentation will focus on the arts of these revolutionaries by telling their stories, showcasing their arts and transmitting their hopes for the future.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries

ART AND ACTIVISM


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

From South-East Asia to Palestine and Egypt the M.A.D. Couple had a particular interest on how various forms of activism use art as a medium and a way to express and highlight the socioeconomic and political issues whether national or international in nature. Throughout our research we gathered interviews and examples of activists and artists, both men and women from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds, expressing their concerns regarding ecological situation, globalisation, corruption of politicians, violation of human rights, social injustices and international issues. Palestine and Egypt are two countries in particular rich with artistic expression with a very clear messages in it. Among the other stories in this presentation we will talk about cartoon magazine from Bali that focuses on negative effects of tourism, graffitti artists from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, street art of Egypt and poetry from Palestine.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries

ARCHITECTURE OF SPIRITUAL PLACES


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

This is probably the only presentation in the M.A.D. Projects educational program where questions of religion might be slightly touched through presenting architecture of spiritual places in the Muslim majority countries. Though all four countries that we have visited are Muslim Majority countries, there is a great diversity of religions in each. Indonesia is a home to six different religions, whilst Palestine is a blessed land for three major monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In our travel we have been exploring various spiritual places of Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Confucianist worshipers. This presentation will give you a glimpse of the religious diversity existing in the Muslim World by telling its historical background through its different architecture, including such world heritage places as the biggest Buddhist temple of Borobudur, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Coptic architecture of Cairo.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries

PERFORMING ARTS
Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Performing arts are probably the most engaging and entertaining attraction for the viewer. Contrary to widespread stereotype that Islam forbids arts, performing arts are flourishing throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine and Egypt. We have collected some of the most interesting examples of traditional dances, we took a look at unique shadow puppet theatre of Indonesia and Malaysia, discovered contemporary theatre in Palestine and Egypt, participated in ceremonies with religious dances, listened to numerous concerts, including classical music, hip hop, folk, reggae and traditional. In this presentation through photos and videos we wish to share unique performing arts from our travel, each of them being specific to a place and situation. Be surprised to learn about enormous diversity of performing arts that are as old as inhabitants of these four countries and as modern as the evolutions of its societies.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries

ISLAMIC ART
Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

What is Islamic art? Is it a fair term to describe the arts that are inspired by the religion of Islam? Or it is a term that should be applied in broader sense, including artists who are not Muslims? These are some of the questions the answers to which we have been trying to find out during eight months trip in South-East Asia and the Middle East by meeting artists, lecturers, architects etc. This presentation will give a glimpse of various forms of arts, be it calligraphic writing or architecture of mosques, paintings or performing arts, that are inspired by Islamic values and have direct relationship to religion. Within this presentation we will try to present the diversity that exists within Islamic art and translate beautiful messages hidden behind ornaments, music patterns and body movements of artists we have met.

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

II group: Arts in the Muslim majority countries

VISUAL ARTS
Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Europe has long and refined tradition of visual arts with the most famous painters and sculptors coming from various European countries. Interest in Chinese and Japanese visual arts has been growing as well. However, what we offer to look at does not often reach European audience - its visual arts from Indonesia and Malaysia, Palestine and Egypt. Paintings with calligraphy, drawings combining motives of East and West from Malaysia, traditional embroidery from Palestine and numerous graffitis from revolutionary Egypt. These are just some of the examples to be presented in the presentation about visual arts from the four Muslim majority countries we visited. With this presentation we seek to introduce to you diverse examples of rich culture and artistic expressions so you can be inspired and curious to learn more!

10

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

III group: Other topics

WOMEN IN MUSLIM SOCIETIES


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

Issue of women in muslim societies often makes headlines in our media, but unfortunately rarely in a positive way. From South-East Asia to the Middle East we particularly tried to look at situation of women and always sought to meet women artists or other prominent women to ask questions and find out about their life in Muslim majority countries. We have met several women of different social and religious backgrounds playing an active role in their respective society: a poetess from Palestine, an activist and well known public figure from Egypt, women from matriarchal society in Indonesia, a musician in a rock band, etc. In this presentation the audience will get a glimpse of the situation of women in the four Muslim majority countries that we have visited based on the interviews we have carried out.

11

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

III group: Other topics

ARCHITECTURE OF THE OCCUPATION


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

The state of Israel keeps being condemned by the international community for its violation of human rights regarding its occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem since 1967. United Nations General Assembly has condemned Israel in tens of its resolutions, Human Rights Council has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than it has all other states combined. The occupation itself has contributed to transform the physical features of the Palestinian environment - creation of illegal jewish-only settlements, destruction of Palestinian homes and villages, movement restrictions, refuggee camps are just some of the feautures of architecture of occupation, something totally unfamiliar to most Europeans. This presentation will focus on the description of the architectural landscape of the occupied territories and the narration of Palestinians stories thus pointing out the violation of human rights of the Israeli administration.

12

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

III group: Other topics

ART OF NOMADISM
Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

noMAD - is a member of a group of people having no permanent place of residence or home, and who travels from place to place to find fresh artists that Make A Difference. The M.A.D. project has started in May 2011 and up until now has been carried out mostly by us, the M.A.D. Couple, with enormous help from friends and people that we have met on our way. How the project was created, how we managed with the tight budget, how we decided where to go and whom to meet, what was the most unexpected encounter, what was the worst travel, the freakiest place to stay at and the weirdest food to eat? You will learn answers to these questions and much more in this presentation about the "kitchen" of the M.A.D. project and the process of creation of noMAD tribe. A glimpse into 8 months travel through Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine and Egypt.

13

Europe Educational Tour From March to June 2012 In France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland

Kamal Ahamada was trained as International Teacher in a college in Denmark. Since 2005 he had been involved in educational, development and cultural projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle-East. He was also a mentor for a group of volunteers from all over Europe, who came for a year of training in Denmark before going to Africa in order to be instructors in development. In 2011, together with his friend Eugenija Kovaliova, he founded the M.A.D. Project.

THE M.A.D. COUPLE


Our Blog and Facebook: http:// themadproject.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ MADproject Our Email: Office.mad.project@gmail.com

After a couple of years of working as an assistant to attorney-at-law in Lithuania, Eugenija Kovaliova decided to change her life style and went to Mozambique in South-East Africa to volunteer in an educational project for 6 months. Empowered from that amazing experience, she decided to remain in the field. For two years Eugenija was responsible for training volunteers from all over Europe who came for a year of training in Denmark in order to be qualified to work in development projects in Africa. This is where she met her friend Kamal Ahamada and together they decided to found the M.A.D. Project.

14