Andreja Džakušič, Daniela Krajčová, Simon Macuh, Estela Žutič and Gilles Duvivier
A group of artists from the Association of Fine Artists of Celje, together with many colleagues and supporters, presents the proposals for community action and a greener city by changing the gallery into a space for raising awareness and discussion on the problem of the degraded areas and the untapped potentials of the urban area within Celje. The exhibition reveals the results of previous artistic research in the form of live events, installations, documentary material, drafts, sketches, photographs, video, as well as natural materials, relocated from the urban environment into the gallery space. The artistic research concerns topics related to specific city locations that stand out by their topical nature since they are subject to broad civil initiatives, among which four are highlighted in the exhibition – the Kare 9 initiative, the Tree Park initiative, the Urban Gardening initiative and the Let’s Preserve the Trees initiative. The presented initiatives confront the city with sustainable, continual challenges that involve a miscellaneous use of space that is friendlier to the people and the environment, as well as awareness of the protection of the local tradition. The exhibition plans for a series of activities in its accompanying programme that will take place outside the gallery framework, under the guidance of the members of the Association of Fine Artists of Celje with invited guests.
The need for sustainable development of the city does not only include the environmental aspect, but also economic and social sustainability, which assures the quality of life in the city. This should take into account the contribution of the contemporary art practices that enhance community awareness of the importance of environmental protection and cultural heritage, as well as the protection of natural resources. In pursuing real, sustainable impact within the local community, the artists are acting according to the principles of urban regeneration, social integration and participatory urbanism. The artists appear in the role of co-initiators in establishing communal urban gardening as well as in the conservation and expansion of green areas as an opportunity for sustainable development for the city. They are approaching the debate by means of artistic research covering experimental and educational workshops and campaigns for all ages, by which they are encouraging the exchange of experience and knowledge of all participants. In this way, they are contributing to the identification of the needs and potentials of the urban area and its inhabitants, as well as encouraging a quest for solutions in the broader context of the city by actively advocating changes in the public space. The objective is for the community to organize itself as a civil initiative that addresses a large untapped potential and for the residents and users to become actively involved in the sustainable development of the city of Celje. Certain proposals have already come to life among the citizens, and numerous individuals and associations have already joined the existing initiatives.
The exhibition deals with the life lived in the city of Celje as a network of interconnections within which artistic creation is only one of the sensitive layers among all the others. With this awareness, the exhibition offers a reflection on the local urban environment, which concerns ecology in its broader sense of connectivity within the community.
The project was supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Celje, Okolje Consulting and KOB David Koželj.