On Friday we had the pleasure to hear Beatrice Catanzaro and Cristiana Bottigella talk about their project Bait Al Karama, a project that connects the idea of social sculpture and community engagement.

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The concept of Social Sculpture has its origin in the 1970´s and Joseph Boys ideas to give tools for artists to create a political change and connect people through teaching as an art practice. Social Sculpture is about a collective imagination and a new moral possibility where we use the framework to create new social landscapes. Beatrice and Cristiana have used these ideas to explore values, create new forms of thinking and being in the world. Bait Al Karama is a community project without one singular author, it was initiated by Fatima Kadumy (of the the Women Committee of the Nablus Old City Charity Society),  Beatrice Catanzaro (visual artist – Italy) and Cristiana Bottigella (cultural manager – UK) as a response to the disconnect of the region and to support the social and economic needs of women of the Old City of Nablus struggling in the aftermath of the occupation by means of a food-based social enterprise. Their project Bait Al Karama can be translated to Bait – Home, and Karama – Dignity, which describes the project pretty spot-on. Many women spend their lives in the kitchens and work at home, they hold traditions and recipes that are a big part of their heritage and culture but that rarely get the visibility it deserves. By starting this cookery school Bait Al Karama they show the meaning of food, the hidden history of the region and make women’s knowledge and domestic labor noticed and valued. It is a beautiful way to bridge people and to find a mutual ground to learn and teach. This is not only for the local community, it also draws international attention to the Old City of Nablus as a place of Art and Culture, by initiating a number of cultural and artistic initiatives involving the local and wider Palestinian cultural scene as well as international guests and to encourage sustainable tourism.

We are grateful that we had the opportunity to bring Beatrice and Cristiana to Gothenburg and Röda Sten Konsthall and to hear how art, social sculpture and community can interact with each other. As the first female-run cookery school in Palestine we see this as an example for how art can be translated in to long-term sustainability and accomplish social-cultural mission as it offers women employment and a chance to develop income and self-sustainability. We were happy to see the interest from the audience as many had questions about how to sign up for the cooking-lectures and how to get to Palestine. We hope that this talk opened our eyes for how art can be a way in to political change and we hope that the audience got inspired to start or take part in projects that are reaching for a long-term goal!

Lastly, SculptureHUB wants to thank Beatrice and Cristiana for coming and Röda Sten Konsthall for hosting us!

Text by Sofia Landström