The starting point for this artistic journey were my concerns about the negative attitudes – of certain groups of Europeans – towards Europe. Hate crimes, intolerance, racism, discrimination and even war show the scale of the challenges we face to strengthen democratic culture and peaceful coexistence. I ask myself whether it’s too small-minded just to look at Europe in view of potential extreme weather and climate problems we might face in future. In daily life it becomes more and more obverse that everything is inter-connected, and everybody must be aware of his responsibility for the environment. To take responsibility as an artist is quite a challenge. What is the right way?
Art can be a powerful tool for fostering understanding and tolerance between different European cultures. Art has the potential to provide an emotional connection, which is something we need to bridge divides and promote mutual respect. Through art, we can explore our shared history, struggles and successes as Europeans while also celebrating our differences. By creating works of art that focus on the similarities between us rather than highlighting what sets us apart, I hope to foster greater empathy amongst those who may have negative attitudes to the EU.
I want to explore how people in different parts of Europe live their lives, work together, or deal with conflicts. How do they think about themselves? What are their dreams?
Places I went and the people I met.
The cement of society is often thought to be shared values, norms, and institutions that bind people together and provide a sense of belonging. Developing a deeper sense of belonging and connection with others and the world can be achieved through a variety of means, such as:
- Building strong, positive relationships with friends, family, and community members.
- Participating in activities and organizations that align with your values and interests.
- Practicing empathy and understanding towards others, even those with different perspectives and experiences.
- Engaging in acts of kindness and service for others.
- Practicing mindfulness and gratitude to appreciate the present moment and the people and world around you.
The European Idea
To understand the European idea, one probably has to go for search of those hidden meanings and layers of the concept of Europe. Pim de Boer defines three main elements of the European cultural heritage:
- The identification of Europe with freedom.
- The connection between Europe and Christianity.
- The concept of European culture.
Traveling is a transition ritual that allows us to discover different cultures, places, and gain experiences. From departure through passage, being on the move and finally arriving at our destination. Each step of travel brings with it new perspectives, knowledge, and memories. Traveling also helps break down barriers between people from different backgrounds by allowing them to come together over shared experiences or stories. Ultimately traveling teaches us about ourselves as much as it does about other cultures and thus to construct other worlds within our own lives while providing an appreciation for diversity.