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VIAVIA SALON X KONTRA

On the 17th of September, VIAVIA Salon welcomes one of Rotterdam’s upcoming grassroots projects. KONTRA is a project that started in 2018, with the aim of exploring the connection between art and activism. By supporting and showcasing political art, KONTRA hopes to contribute to the ongoing connection between artistic creativity, intersectionality and change.

For this edition of VIAVIA Salon KONTRA has invited the extremely talented artist Christine Ayo to showcase some of her most prominent work.

>> This is the opening night. The exhibition will be on view until the 18th of october.

| PROGRAMME |

We will be announcing the programme through the course of next week.

| PARTICIPATION POLICY |

Like our other events, we have a participation policy

»»»» Make sure to respect our code of conduct- KONTRA holds the right of removal. You can read our code of conduct here:

1. Anti-violence;
2. Respect for each other’s presence, expression, and opinion;
3. Anti-rape movement & consent is key;
4. Anti-racism/misogyny/bigotry and you are anti behaviour that stems from xenophobia, racism, homophobia, and transphobia;
5. No to body shaming (of any sort);
6. Anti-beauty standardization, YES to exploring your personal aesthetics;
7. Solidarity with different kinds of narratives;
8. Active and shared protection attitude: by calling out the attitudes and actions that threaten the participants’ safety;
9. Womxn and queers to the front!
Any dismay or violence of this code of conduct will result in removal from the premises and legal prosecution in all cases necessarily according to the Dutch law in force on the 17th of September 2020.

>>>>>>>>>
!!!! KONTRA is a grass-roots project organising a yearly mini artfest that explores the boundaries between art and activism and seeks alternative ways of art-making, partying and art management. The VIAVIA Salon is a monthly recurring art exhibition happening at Weelde Rotterdam. containing art from several disciplines around a changing theme. Art by various young artists and performers - selected and curated 'via via' - is exhibited. There is also room for guest curators and organizations to set up an exhibition and opening evening.

You can find the link of the VIAVIA SALON X KONTRA event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1215978855437652/

Kontra is about shaping the future, how would you describe the perfect future?

Nikki: In my mind, and I hope also of the people surrounding me and working with me, the perfect future is like a utopia. Everyone is equal and we don’t have to fight or struggle for anything. All we do is live together in a peaceful way. I strongly believe that my freedom and your freedom will never bother anyone and no one will ever bother me. We respect each other in this way. 

 

Joana: I don’t want to describe it as idealistic because I honestly think it’s possible. But you need to be able to implement policies, laws and support movements that are actually changing the world. So for me, the perfect world is anti-capitalist, it’s feminist, it’s non-binary, anti-racist and inclusive as f*ck. And I honestly think it’s not that impossible. It’s actually possible but there need to be willingness to change and right now with the political climate we exist, there is no willingness to change. And that’s the reason why there are so many movements and subcultures that try to do that in their own local communities. 

 

Can you explain where the name Kontra comes from?

Joana: Kontra means against. So to be against something. A lot of the things we were talking about were established centuries ago. So, why are we not against those things?

In February Kontra organized the Slut Walk in Rotterdam. How would you describe the energy of that march?

 Nikki:  It was on the 8th of March, during International Woman’s Day. For me it was a celebration but also a memorial to give respect to everything that was already gained through all these years, and we strive for even more! For instance, it was really powerful to see all these people joining us during the walk. I really believe in equality, which means we don’t put females above men, but we see them as equal. It’s really nice to see males attending and supporting.

 

Was it a surprise for you that men attended the march?

Joana: The most usual question we get in relation to the Slut Walk is: "Are men welcome?" We heard this every time and we always answer back that they’re welcome. Of course you should come to support us. The thing is, we don’t want you to be at the front. But you’re very welcome.

In March Kontra organized the Slut Walk in Rotterdam. How would you describe the energy of that march?

Nikki: It was on the 8th of March, during International Woman’s Day. For me it was a celebration but also a memorial to give respect to everything that was already gained through all these years, and we strive for even more! For instance, it was really powerful to see all these people joining us during the walk. I really believe in equality, which means we don’t put females above men, but we see them as equal. It’s really nice to see males attending and supporting.

 

Was it a surprise for you that men attended the march?

Joana: The most usual question we get in relation to the Slut Walk is: "Are men welcome?" We heard this every time and we always answer back that they’re welcome. Of course you should come to support us. The thing is, we don’t want you to be at the front. But you’re very welcome.

What was the reason you asked Ayo for the coming art exhibition?

Joana: Ayo makes these amazing pieces. It has all those colors and shapes  and  a connection with the void. That’s how I feel about Ayo's pieces. Nikki was actually the person that saw Ayo at a WDKA's online catalogue graduation. She also showed me Ayo's project about the rape in Uganda (Voicing Entebbe). We were looking specifically for this type of art, that contains a message and something that’s very close to someone’s identity. We were the happiest people on earth when Ayo said yes when we asked her for the exhibition.

 

What can people expect of the opening on Thursday?

Joana: I hope visitors will feel like they are part of a community, and we hope people are willing to be confronted with their own privileges as well.

I think it’s important that people go there and do that labour in their minds like okay, I’m consuming art a certain way, why am I not thinking about it in a way that can change the world? Because I really believe that culture and arts performances have a capacity to change the world. We have a really fire line-up, Ayo's art is there, Anthony Hüseyin is performing and we have amazing DJ’s!

What can we expect of the art at the coming exhibition?

Ayo: When I spoke with Nikki on the phone, I was keen to know what’s Kontra about, what’s Weelde about, the space and the kind of people who are coming. Luckily, my work is quite multifaceted. I make objects, of course they are tied to topics or thematics like feminism. But there are also projects that are explicitly about addressing things like violence against women, a project that Joanna mentioned, it’s called Voicing Entebbe. It’s an ongoing project that started in 2017 after I read about the unsolved murders of 23 women in Entebbe. The project contains films, a sculpture and photography. But then again, I want to take the spirit of that project not just to replicate the work that I already made, but I want to look at the space and adapt some of the pieces.

 

To make the connection with VIAVIA Salon, the concept of this project is to connect people VIAVIA, using your network. How did you came into contact with Kontra?

Nikki: I mailed Ayo through her website and after that we called each other. While thinking about the theme of this expo, thinking about for example the rise of domestic violence because of the lockdown, I found Ayo's work and it was a perfect match.

 

Joana: We don't usually have a theme for this and it’s the first time that we’re exhibiting with just one artist. It was like, okay we find the artist and we’re just gonna curate everything around the artist. The DJ’s and the performances, everything was inspired by Ayo's work. We want to give people a nice experience, it’s sensorial, it’s what you see, what you hear.  The experience needs to be cohesive, like a nice meal. Everything goes around Ayo's work.

Interview

"Kontra means against. So to be against something. A lot of the things we were talking about were established centuries ago. So, why are we not against those things?"

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