Why we started?


On a bird's wing, a bird that I have never and shall never see and from a long time, I came to the furthest north, to Finland.

More than a decade and a half and I am still braiding my black hair to be a bridge to pass.

Our worried eyes collected all the love to tell you that we were here, lied, interacted and did… yes, we did that all in a field that is considered the lung by which all humans are breathing; it is the art field, especially the visual art. It is the swing of love to draw the future.

Art is the language that everybody understands, it is like love, I would not say like politics. Our aim in principal was to declare the movement within a third culture* in the arts field; it is a cultural human goal as we are more than 28 million immigrants in Europe and some of us are Europeans by feelings and future. May be we are different from the roots, but branches are in Europe and they will remain as such.

There is no attempt to go back for many reasons, the most important of which is the communications revolution, which turned the world into a small village.

Another reason is the globalization policies that distinguished sharply between poor and rich; it demolished the national borders, or destroyed the solid imaginary borders as well as the difference characteristics. There are many reasons and this is not the place to count or analyse them.

As I said, art is the human being's language, so it is (art) a frontrunner in globalising culture and removing the differences that are used to launch those wars that we witnessed.

We, the migrant artists' network in Europe started with faith and established this network on the 10th of January 1997 with the aim of highlight the characteristics of cultural hybrid that we call the third culture.

The third culture in simple words is my production here in Finland as an Iraqi, I worked since I have arrived here and my production is not a pure Iraqi production, but not pure Finnish either, of course it is related to both cultures, but it is non of them in a pure shape.

From that point it is inevitable that we have to clarify our role and what we have done of change in the European community as well as what has happened to our thoughts and lives and out cultural production as a result of that, especially that we are working in a direct field in art, which is the visual language and as we all know, the visual language has a direct but simple impact on humans.

We are determined to always clarify the aims and principals that we are here for; this determination came after a group of artists urged me to clarify these aims and principals from the first moment of establishing the network.

Establishing an association or an art movement is not an easy thing as it requires faith and teamwork. That why we agreed on establishing an association that takes care of the migrant artists, embraces them and creates different relationships between these artists and their host country.

These relations might look at first as a normal and natural one, but we would like to confirm that the human being's existence is related mainly to production and what the immigrant produces states the need to hold discussions and pushes to establishing an association or holding any activity to this group that carries common characteristics and goals, or what we call “cultural genes”.

There was also another challenge that we faced, which was telling everybody around us that we do exist, we strongly believe that this is our mission and other have got nothing to do with it but what brings them with us in achieving these gaols that convert this mission from a theoretical to a practical one.

As we can select what the migrant artists produce, it is different as far as the language and the production itself are concerned.

So, there are obvious cultural characteristics of this production and there is a severe need to study and follow this sensitive issue that will play a major role in determining the next generations' future.

We are saying that and we are confident that our reader will understand that we aim to isolate ourselves or to serve some political purposes to our hosting country, or think of us as profiteers and we do not have a mission and a message that aims to pinpoint the hybrid production that has started emerging already since the eighties of the last century and is still going on.

This sensitive matter needs a follow up and a study as we previously said, it also needs enrichment by holding large-scale activities like this exhibition you are at, these activities adopt the third culture as a matter that has a mission and a message; to create a deeper understanding and better co-existence for all of us.

Amir Khatib

* The idea of the formation of a third culture within the Western civilisation did not first appear in the “art and literature” world, but it started in the field of science with the 1959 Reed Lecture by C.P. Snow, a British physicist, writer and senior civil servant. The lectures were titled The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution and they criticised the increasing gulf between “humanist intellectuals” and “scientists”. When published as a book in 1959, his idea of the two cultures generated a widespread and heated debate. Afterwards the comments on Snow's two cultures have overlooked the 1963 second edition of the book, where he introduced the notion of a “third culture”, a culture where literary intellectuals conversed directly with scientists.