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Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Dear friends, allies and accomplices,

Hello to you all! Welcome to our irregular Reboot The Roots newsletter …

In these times of Brexit and growing hostility to persons from other places, RTR proudly stands for solidarity with all oppressed peoples, and continues to champion the use of creative arts practices to promote multicultural harmony. We believe in direct action and unremitting creative resistance to all forms of domineering behaviour.

As long as there is an oppressed, we are on their side.

It has been one of our busiest years yet, with over a dozen new associate artists and facilitators sponsored by RtR to do what they do best – create and facilitate social and personal transformation through the arts! However, a key feature of that work this year has been to do with self-care, burnout, and creating resilience.

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Highlights include:

-workshops for 60+ people at the COP21 protests in Paris in December, taking a de-escalation bloc (BEEVA BLOC!) to the streets in clown-army fashion to keep the cops on their best behaviour whilst supporting the family friendly and accessible atmosphere.

– a dozen change-agents from across Europe trained in theatre of the oppressed at Ecodharmain October, exploring how we can use Rainbow of Desire and forum theatre to promote unity and liberation.

– we visited Budapest twice to deliver a two-week theatre project around the theme of response to the refugee crisis, returning again to explore therapeutic theatre for healing in February.

– we funded artists to attend festivals in Switzerland and Greece to exhibit their artworks and perform in autonomous spaces, in support of anti-elitism and prisoner solidarity.

– we supported facilitators to return to Cluj in Romania to deliver workshops on the feedback method, feminist history and theatre for social change.

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But we’re not through yet!– in August, RtR is partnering with the Eroles Project to facilitate two weeks of arts-activism on the theme of borders and creating resilience in these troubled times, providing funding and training for a team of facilitators to work with a team members to explore how to keep on keeping on in the face of burn-out and sometimes overwhelming resistance.

– still upcoming this year, we will rejoin Focus Atelier for the inaugural platform event in Chiesenau, in the Republic of Moldava. This will be the first time RtR and Associatia Reciproca are holding this event in one of the poorest countries in Europe.

– we hope to attend the Berlin Tattoo Circus in September with associate artist Sierra Weppla and Creative Director George Wielgus to support prisoners and generate dialogue around the injustice system through Theatre of the Oppressed.

– for this year’s Theatre of the Oppressed Training Week in Ecodharma, Cataluyna, we want to sponsor two emerging facilitators to attend to expand our network and support their development as trainers and artists.

– in 2017, we will launch the Ouroboros Exhibition in London – our first major UK Project – featuring a range of multidisciplinary artists with experience of social exclusion. The theme is around creative responses to the destructive nature of crisis. Watch this space for the upcoming indiegogo campaign and future updates.

 

 

How You CaTeatru-Forum-si-Teatru-Invizibil-Focus-Atelier-44n Help

– join us! On September 4th we are having our annual general meeting for all our members and supporters. More details to follow but feel free to write to us to express an interest.

Solidarity is our weapon. Come vote on our decisions, stand to be a trustee, pitch us an idea, get involved, you are most welcome, the house is yours!

– share our website & social media to promote our work

– write something for our blog on your experience. Did you attend a workshop or performance? Has RtR helped you? We would love to hear about it …

sign up as a regular donor … as little as £2 a week will help us to continue to support the development of artists with experience of social cohesion, assisting them to gain access to new audiences and achieve our vision of a united, multicultural society.

bung us some cash … one-off donations make up nearly 50% of our funding each year. Maybe you participated in one of our free workshops and enjoyed it, maybe you were funded yourself to attend something, now we need your contributions to make these amazing events keep happening!

– watch out for our upcoming indiegogo campaign to raise £3500 to host a multidisciplinary arts exhibition in Tower Bridge in 2017, featuring a range of artists from socially excluded backgrounds.

We couldn’t do this without each other,

Love and solidarity, and many thanks to all the people who have touched our lives,

The RtR Bloc

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Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus – from Sierra

Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus – from Sierra

 

I am a really hardworking full time artist who invests 5-7days a week working on many different projects. I have been invited during my visit to Zurich (which was sponsored by RtR) to participate in this year’s Tattoo Circus in Thessaloniki. The organizers had offered to pay a part for flights and travel expenses, as well as to provide space and all needed materials, which in the tattoo world means a lot – you save a lot of money. I am trying to build my social platform around Europe. Knowing that nowadays most tattoo artists are usually not just tattoo artists – often they are specializing in many other fields like I do, I asked RtR to support my trip to Greece, as it would hopefully benefit my future projects, expanding my contacts and hopefully ccreating new events in the future. Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus (TTC) was promoting a strong collective of artists who specialize in many different fields – from sculpture, to digital art, painting, and obviously tattoos. It was very important for me to take part as a tattoo artist – where I can learn and make contacts with other tattooists – as well as an artist – and also allowing me to see other’s peoples work and hopefully create opportunities to collaborate in the future.

One of the designs I made in preparation of the circus …

As a self- taught tattooist I was wondering if my skills would match with all those professionals working for many years in studios. I was hoping to get contacts and to open gates for guest spots in different studios around Europe.

The Tattoo Circus itself is non-profit event that supports prisoners’ and ex-prisoners’ re-integration into society. The Tattoo Circus as well organizes workshops like letter-writing to prisoners, sending books/magazines and supporting charities that help to integrate those that come out and have to ‘restart’ their lives. TC promotes social change – where the ones behind bars should not be forgotten and left alone, as well as when they come out from prisons they shouldn’t be socially excluded, rejected and incapable of starting to follow their dreams in the same way all of us try to do. I found it a morally valuable subject to support, especially in a world where, for example, while the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.

The door at Terra Incognita, where the event took place …

I had a great time at the Terra Incognito social centre in Thessaloniki. A great time in terms of working hard, up to 12 hours a day, and in terms of communicating with other participants and festival visitors. It was just stunning to see how people managed to organize such a big event completely DIY, as well as provide all the materials, space and furniture necessary for 25 artists over 3 days. It has really left a big impact on me – why couldn’t I start organizing events myself again? It led me to start putting up a concept and discussing with other artists, and here we are, slowly moving towards next step – a huge art project right here in London.

I most definitely succeeded in the fields that were important for me: I have made new conctacts in Berlin, Prague and Lausanne, where I was invited to come to tattoo and exhibit. As well, I expanded my contacts throughout other European countries. Most importantly – it lifted up my self esteem, as I realised I am not worse at tattoos than others – just different. (: As I wrote in my proposal letter- my theory about other tattoo artists specializing not just in tattoo – confirmed itself and I met alot of creative people with whom we will cooperate in the future. Besides that, my success as a tattooist in the festival was satisfactory – I received quite a lot of attention, created new works, updated my portfolio, plus raised some funds for the prisoner support groups.

One of my designs at the Circus, requested to look like one of my paintings …

I found it quite difficult to operate inbetween another 25 artists. I learned about interpretations of my technique and style – lots of people like it, but it’s ‘too dark’ to have it. Pretty much the same as with my paintings and everything else I do. When there are so many tattooists in one location there is always a lot of competition. I am happy I did some of my designs (which was rare at this event– usually people were bringing their own ideas), meanwhile, there were few tattooists who didn’t do a single piece. I believe they were anticipating a bigger crowd this year.

I am grately thankful to RtR for supporting my way to the event, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend. Because of the funding I received I was able to book my flights and survive throughout the week in the city.

Where I’m going next?

Where to start? The next project is a big collective exhibition in London – inspired by what I saw in Thessaloniki. Perhaps it is a semi-autonomous space, or hopefully in more established gallery. Meanwhile, I will be guestspotting as a tattoo artist around Europe, and in September attending the Tattoo Circus in Berlin –the second capital of Art in Europe. There is a possibility to exhibit there too, and I will be working really hard to make all these projects to happen.

Thanks again for the ongoing support … be sure to check out my new website at www.oneslutriot.com!

 

Totally Worth It – from Sierra Weppla

Totally Worth It – from Sierra Weppla

Sierra Weppla was sponsored by RtR to attend the Downstate Festival in Zurich to present her work … here’s a little note we received back …

“Festival went, I would say, incredibly well. I came back with empty bag. All the prints, stickers and copies went. Besides that, I met incredible artists and performers from across the Europe. It came out to be super international – people came from Greece, Germany, Netherlands and all around. A fellow tattoo artist who I met in the fest invited me to come to Tattoo Circus – a benefit for prisoners in Thessaloniki. Flights paid – accommodation sorted. Alongside exhibiting and selling, I made around 10 tattoos in the wagon which Festival organiser prepared for me. This will allow me to pay for my studio and start to work on new series of paintings. Thanks RtR!”

Escape From London – from Sierra Weppla

Escape From London – from Sierra Weppla

George F and Sierra Weppla were sponsored by RtR to attend the Downstate Festival at KochAreal in Zurich – one of the largest autonomous spaces in Europe …

 

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“I have been working every single day for a couple of weeks until late night in order to bring enough art pieces, zines, posters and other diy stuff to the festival. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, nor how will things go as it was organised for the first time. In my opinion it could have been a total fiasco or a super nice festival. But was worth it to risk.

RtR funding helped me to prepare for the fest – I had enough money to buy paper, printer toners and not to worry about not having enough copies for sale/swaps, in case the festival was going to go very well. In the end, because of the funding I was able to carry about 80 A3 posters, 10 A1 posters, about 50 copies of self-published zine, and help to print out about 30copies of George’s zines.”

 

Check out some photos here.

On Crack, To Berlin, In The Forest – from Sierra Weppla

On Crack, To Berlin, In The Forest – from Sierra Weppla

From sponsored artist Sierra Weppla on her experience

CRACK festival
I have been planning to go to the Crack festival for a several years now. But it was always hard to find finances to carry all the artworks that I wanted to present and art materials. As on the air plane it would mean a lot of additional costs. This year, because of Reboot the Roots funding, I was finally able to satisfy my dream. In addition it created an opportunity to take as many and as heavy artworks as I could, including paints and other art materials, as me and my fellow artists were going by the car.

The festival itself is an amazing space full of non commercially driven extraordinary creative autonomous artists from all over the Europe and even overseas. I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of creative activists that I have never heard before of. The organizers provided me an exhibiting space in one of the cells (where exhibition was taking place) where I had more than enough room to widely display my artworks and even share it with my fellow artists. During the exhibiting time other artists came to speak with me in order to swap patches, zines, comic books and drawings. The doors opened for future projects, including invitation to submit works for a few upcoming comic books along with a satisfied and happy words from organizer of the event about exhibiting next year.

 

 

BERLIN
As the CRACK festival went so well, next stop was Berlin, the Rigaerstrasse 25th anniversary. As I mentioned before, I was able to carry with me all the way from Rome to Berlin sketch books, boxes of paints and brushes and spray cans. It was extremely important in order to be able to create something on the spot. I have been given permission to do the mural on one of the buildings (where festival was taking place) wall.

 

 

HAMBACHER FORST

Arts festival in the occupied protest camp near to Cologne was carrying a lot of different workshops during the week, which I was able to attend and participate in. I have been asked to paint a big mural on the building wall which was sharing freeshop and library inside. I used the same materials that I was carrying all the way, along with the ones organizers provided me. Further, the forest occupation inspired me so much, that it will be highly reflected in my future’s creativity as a main subject.