Siwa/Copenhagen Untitled (the Art Interchange Project) is a series of three informal workshops aiming at bridging cultural divides, and create exposure to ‘otherness,’ via asking the question: What is the outcome when three artists representative of metropolitan Copenhagen, live and work amongst groups of local men and women through the medium of three uniquely gendered arts in an isolated Arab desert oasis community? This project will also explore and investigate the artistic encounter between contemporary Scandinavian design and the ancient cultural traditions of Siwa. It is a hopeful aim that during a later phase of the project, the exchange will be reversed to invite urbanite Egyptian artists to non-metropolitan Denmark in a similar exchange program.

DEDI will organize a series of art workshops, meetings and encounters between contemporary Danish artists and traditional Siwite artisans between January and May 2010 in Siwa, aiming at strengthening the ongoing process where art and culture serve as vehicles of exchange and dialogue between different segments of Danish and the Arab societies. The approach is novel in its nature as a dialogue initiative, departing from metropolitan contexts, shifting from centres to peripheries, documenting the impact of diverging worlds meeting and cultures crossings.

Sound– Danish musician Randi Pontoppidan, is invited to work with a group of local musicians in creating a body of music, fusing Siwan musical traditions with electronic sounds and rhythms of contemporary Copenhagen.

Textile Art–  Danish artist and designer Helle Mardahl is invited to work with a group of local women in creating a body of art work. The women of Siwa will contribute with their ancient knowledge of embroidery.

Narrative– Danish poet and writer Morten Søndergård will through his meetings with elder members of different Siwan tribes gather inspiration to compose a tale about the project, and cultural exchanges as they emerge. For example, the juxtaposition and dialogue between Arab tribal solidarity and Danish urban modern/identity. 

The project is coordinated by Ellen Raven.


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