This is the first chapter from THE BOOK, written FOLLOWING TCFT 2015
in Bosnia by a beautiful group of people who had the same idea:
to CHANGE the world... and they DID.
Yes they worked, yes they tried and also succeeded, but something else happened...
They changed themselves, they discovered who they really are and how important
Love and Art are for humanity.
And YES they had a lot of FUN doing that!
Let me take you through their FUN journey!
First time I was in Srebrenica (Bosnia), I was a little confused, I admit it. But once I met everybody, saw who they were, found out more about them and what were their stories, I understood that what binds us were our ideas about the world, our desire for freedom and many other wonderful thoughts about what the world could be like. So we all gathered and thru our totally different ways of art, we created an amazing experience for one another, that brought each and one of us happiness and joy.
Shared by Irina
VISEGRAD AND ANDRICGRAD
DAYS & NIGHTS IN VISEGRAD
"I'm happy. Nothing's going to stop me. I'm making my way home"
On this song I began my trip from Romania to Bosnia.
That's exactly how I felt when I found myself within the people i met there.
Shared by Irina
TCFT and the preparation itself had influenced a lot on me to realise that the job that I was doing was very serious and required a lot of energy to get the results needed.
It all started like this:
Last year we have visited UK, and had similar activities like here on which I was the participant. In a conversation with Tina I have mentioned an idea which crossed my mind. Idea which could be realizedin Bosnia. The idea was to pick three cities from Bosnia where culture and cultural life of youth is not at a noticeable level, and to give that young people a chance like we had. Then we started with preparation, I was in charge of Višegrad, together with Tina and Milena I prepared activities. A lot of time and energy was spent in organizing the festival in Višegrad. The product of it all was to give youth something in which they will find themselves and to show what they possess , discover talents which were hidden deep inside them. Festival itself in Višegrad was a good lesson for me and was something new for me which I enjoyed while working and preparing everything. I had fears of the outcome because this was totally new for me, I was afraid of how am I going to coordinate with stuff and people. Energy that was present during preparation was fascinating. Why? First, many young people never met each other and had no experience with these type of workshops where the outcome was to be presented on the square in Andrićgrad, and to walk through rest of the city. I was observing people from the side which felt more comfortable and relaxed and started to change through working as days passed by. They all gave their maximum so it would be done as all we imagined it.
This was for me something that helped me to find myself and where I would like to stay, improve and to show more, learn more from people who are in this for a long time. I am very proud of youth from Višegrad which I offered to work with us and in the end they accepted it with pleasure.
Shared by Ljubisa
In Bosnia (Visegrad and Srebrenica) was a creative and productive process. It was a pleasure to lead the photography workshop for Youth in Visegrad. Young people were engaged with photography workshop, especially when we prepared The Open Gallery in Andricgrad - an interactive exhibition. We also had a presentation of photos, on the streets, that we carried on our bodies. That was art activism.
During next two weeks in Srebrenica, TCFT project gave a good energy for team work, and created a good base for further development of this project. We discussed about our thoughts at the workshops. I think that this good connection and collective understanding, through communication, gave good results. All educators have had a lot of patience for every participant, and have been open for support, advices and discussions - very important for young participants. Free time on evenings was also important because everyone had the chance to share experiences, ideas and daily impressions about their work and to know each other better.
It was a challenge to be part of many art forms, because it gave me a new perspective - as photographer, is new experience. When you're within the phenomenon of any kind of art form, you gain a better view of the frame. This will be a useful knowledge for my future photographic work. What impressed me the most was the puppetry workshop with Besso and the company from Georgia. I never had the chance to see or try this kind of work because in Serbia, finger puppetry doesn’t exist. – And I also got to play the harp, something that I never thought I will do.
The most fun experience was definitely working with Nigel Osborne on Sevdah journey at the music workshops, because together we explored songs from different countries as East Africa, Central Africa, Arabia, then Israel, Portugal, Serbia, Bosnia, Brazil…We “traveled” through this songs and the use of different languages, as we were there. - Through this exploration we learned the meaning of each songs words in the languages that we didn’t know – Many times, that was really funny.
Even though I participated on many international exhibitions and multimedia festivals, where I represented my work or group art, TCFT project gives the opportunity to create new art forms, all together, combined. As a participant of the international project “The Complete Freedom of Truth”, I was honored to discuss with many open-minded people about democracy, freedom and truth, which lead to visionary ideas about the future.
TCFT project gave me support for my future work in the field of art activism, and now I am preparing a multimedia performance art project “Think time” (“Misliti vreme”) for BUNT festival in November in Belgrade. Besides of experimental music group Katarina&Ljubica DUO, visual artist from MA Bauhaus with me, professional performers, I will also include young people from Mimart TCFT group to realize my concept. Name of the festival BUNT indicates activist approach to addressing to Government, and our performance is about freedom and truth about contemporary art in our country, which is marginalized.
Together as one people in community, creative and alive we can be free!
Shared by Lidija
Photos shared by Zoe
Capturing the beauty within Srebrenica these images show the effortless beauty of the location and I also explored displaying my TCFT sculpture made with the pebbles from the beach of the Drina River.
Shared by Zoe
Photos shared by Giulia
It's really hard for me to talk about TCFT project. I am afraid I won't pick the right words to describe what it really means to me, on the other hand, I am afraid that it could seem a bit exaggerated and not authentic... but I'll try..
To live in a community with people who are working organized, dedicated and committed is a real pleasure. To watch those people prosper from day to day, and yet, besides everything, they stay reasonable and open-minded, its really motivating. And then, in that atmosphere where all those energetic people create, it's impossible to stay in one place and do nothing, not to be useful. That is the greatest value of this project – move yourself, remove boundaries.
Today, if I had to imagine an ideal society, it would be created by TCFT's people. Such people don't need to exist only in Srebrenica. They can exist anywhere, because the energy that they contain is moving along with them. For a long time I wasn't Myself, like I was then, in Srebrenica. TCFT truly played a big part in my progress, especially because it came in the moment when I was going thru a certain crysis in my life. And now, I can certainly say that getting to know yourself thru work, society and art is actually a great approach and also a great path to accepting yourself without much pressure and without forcing anything.
Today, what TCFT built can be for sure called Family Legacy and treasure.
Shared by Mirza
I WAS HAPPY
I was happy. I was happy when I was 3 years old; when I was 4, 5, 6 years old. Until I became aware of it, aware of everything. Everything that had happened was dark, too dark for my children's eyes; too dark for the fairy tales I heard from my mother, who was always there to tell me the story about a princess.
There were no more fairy tales, and no more princesses. Reality came, and the image of the world that was so dark that I ran away and suppressed everything I was feeling.
I was born in a society, we all know which one, in one where you cannot be different, you cannot think in your own way, you cannot think about beauty or ugliness in your own unique way, if it does not coincide with the majority opinion, to which you belong. And do you really belong?! I was taught to persevere and get used to everything and, of course, not to trust anyone. And why would I?! Who has believed in me or ever heard me? No one. From a family that is so intermingled that we not even ourselves understand where we came from. And why does it even matter?! Well, it is important, because of the past, the ancestors; in my country, in my city, you had to know those things. Because then you would know how to divide, how to accept or reject.
At one point, I lost myself. Between the fairy tale and reality, in a castle on a cloud, between dreams and reality, between the worlds, which were not mine, where I did not belong. It was too hard to think again, to try reaching for something that never comes, which is so difficult, unreachable, unrealistic, far away.
First three days of the project have been a suffering for me. I got up early every morning, passive, waiting for the day to pass, so I can again continue with my old habits.
Then there is Alex, a singer, a musician, who tells me a fairy tale every day – a fairy tale that I sing well. Of course I do not believe him, I do not know how to sing, I never sang in my entire life. Maybe only for myself and Mom, who also says that I sing well, but she is my mother, for God’s sake! She loves me, I know that she is saying that for only one reason, because I'm her daughter. Of course I did not trust her.
On the fourth day, Ljubisa comes up to me, as he is the leader of the group for my city, and he tells me: “ Hey, you have to sing, we have scheduled a performance tomorrow evening in Andrigrad, I’m counting on you!” And all that I am thinking is – hey, he is counting on me.
I talked with Alex, he persuaded me, motivated me for something, for that fairy tale which I abandoned when I was 6 years old.
It is the fifth day, the day of the performance. I'm turning in bed, it disturbs me, those words, these people, that one project. Complete Freedom of Truth. Complete freedom of truth - is that even realistic?! I'm thinking about it, about motivation, about people, about everything that they are talking about. The idea of me singing entices me, but - fear. The great fear of either success or failure. Oh, who knows what I was thinking, it is long gone. And then, I made a decision, as always, not to betray the people around me, who count on me. I said to myself: endure for that one day and that's it, you will return home, to your habits.
Performance. Anxiety is killing me, Alex told me not to smoke for two hours before the performance, because it is good for the voice. Oh, what do I know of it, I've never sang before, but I guess he knows. I believe him. I trust someone. I laugh to myself.
500 people around us. We begin...And it was wonderful.
It was wonderful to be happy and to be sad with all of you. It was wonderful, to feel again like in a fairy tale. It was wonderful to be a princess again, but not a princess from that children's fairy tale, but the one who did not have to change the crown and move into the new kingdom in the quest for freedom. For complete freedom of truth.
Shared by Sandra
A DAY BY THE RIVER
Early in the morning, we took our swimming suits, our bags and everything we needed. Got in the buss and the fun began! We were singing, making jokes, listening to music, having fun. Besides the wonderful view we had on the window - a lot of green as hills, forests - once there, we found a nice place designed especially for FUN in open air. We swam, played, read, chat, and even sang - as you can see in the attached video. Wonderful day!!!!
Shared by Irina
ONCE UPON A TIME IN SILVERTOWN
Once upon a time in a Silvertown, not so long ago, The Youth moved in, completely free, and led by some brilliant people, wanting to reach and express The Complete Freedom of Truth
Those young people came from different countries, cities, environments, linguistic areas, socioeconomic status, some of them in a search for escaping them, some of them in a search for escaping themselves. However, all together in a search for a change and creation of better picture of the world
They were speaking different languages and lived different lifes, but then they started to speak the same, they found common words, learned what's different and shared their own way, they initiate movement and started to live together thru Art.
In Silvertown those days everything reflected Art; the rain that was falling for days, and the eggs for breakfast in Youth center, and the voices of young people from the old City Pub, and the smile of satisfied restaurant owners, and surprising looks of taxi drivers, and natural water springs, and old destroyed buildings, and the park left to rust in a town with no children.
Art was in her youthful dress walking on the streets of Silvertown and quiet citizens in that beautiful place were saluting with sunny faces, nodding heads and waving hands. Some older townspeople were approaching enthusiastically and saying words of thanks and approval.
Art was proud because she was making a change.
Different colors that she brought in Silvertown weren't just visible to the naked eye, but colors of soul; difference and diversity, colors of understanding, tolerance and freedom, freedom that was finding her way in the hands, voices and movements of youth.
Once upon a time, long time ago, Silvertown was struck by a disaster and that's the way everyone outside its borders, even outside the Silver-country remembered this town. But these days, when Youth walked in, there wasn't a word about that. Connected with a thought that we are the same regardless of differences and identities, on the ruins, we, human after all, started creating new buildings in which no one would ever shoot. Regardless of identities. We, human first of all. We, human after all.
Maybe that's why many of them outside the borders of this town were deaf for hearing the story about freedom and truth, because they were never interested in freedom and they were always interested in some other truth.
Bewitched town of silver, just like a Sleeping Beauty, that hasn't been waking up for years waiting for a kiss, in august 2015 was woken up by Beauty of Art touching the glass bell of Silvertown by its lips.
Even though the circus left the town and the Sleeping Beauty fell asleep again, and the Youth center, Cultural center, old City Pub and the street from Misirlije to center are empty, this is not the end of the story.
The Youth in Silvertown brought gold and they worked together on it, and Youth has left Silvertown by carrying silver shine deep inside her, friendship, some of love, the idea to make our lifes a pieces of art and the strong motivation for changing ourselves and the world we're living in.
And hope. Hope that someday, somehow, we will find a new way of living. Someday, somehow, this world will be a better place.
Special thanks go to: Unique Youth Organization from Jelah, Tina Ellen Lee & Robert Golden, David Brilliant Glass & Ensamble Theatre, Broken Knee Ensamble, Nela Antonović & Mimart Theatre, Rosie, Darren & other amazing leaders/artists, DJ girls & all musicians, Young leaders from Višegrad & Srebrenica, And everyone else who made my stay in Srebrenica so perfect.
Shared by Elma
THOUGHTS ON TCFT - FREE TIME
For me, the free time also meant working. Every minute I could spare I was working with Alex or Billy, helping Nina, or having long philosophical conversations with David, Robert or Nigel. The first night the others convinced me to stay a bit longer, we went to have a beer at some pub next to the Cultural Centre and that’s when I got to know Raul better and also the Serbian team. Although I was living with some of the Serbian girls, I didn’t actually have the chance to know them better. After a pint of beer we were already better friends than before.
I decided to spend more time with everyone, whenever there was a chance. One night we all stayed at the Youth Centre playing Assassin with cards. It was a lot of fun. People got involved and really fell into their characters. Before it all turned out into a serious conflict between players, I decided to call it a night and head to bed.
The day at the river was surprising. We got to do some swimming and also a bit of bonding with each other. We singed, danced and even slept on the rocky beach of the river. The true adventure was the return trip, when we got soaked in the rain and got home with the scariest bus in the world.
But in the end, every night was about hanging out, drinking a beer and sharing the day’s experience. Probably not just for me, but for everyone, the best free time moment was the good-bye party after the performance. Everyone stayed out late and danced and had fun. For me it was amazing because I decided not to sleep since we were leaving that same morning at 4. So I danced all night and hanged out with everyone and saying my good-byes. Ljubisa kept procuring beers, God knows from where, but around him, everyone constantly had something to drink. Thank God for the leftover beers from the river day and the cheap prices in Srebrenica.
Raul had so much fun that he fell asleep and we almost got stuck in Srebrenica for another day. There we were, me, Irina, Marko and Wade, at 4 am, in front of Raul’s house shouting silently: Raul! Raul!! Of course the lights were out and our Raul was sleeping like a baby. We weren’t even sure that it was really the house where Raul was sleeping. Eventually Marko build up some courage and knocked on the door. The host lady woke him up and we were on our way. Secretly, everyone wished that Raul wouldn’t wake up so we could spend another day there.
Shared by Alexandra
Before I even heard of this project and found out what good it can bring to one’s life, I was occupied with many problems that now seem so small and meaningless. We spend our days worrying and because of that, we become blind to people and things that matter. We are somehow programmed to follow certain paths just because is accepted by the majority and never even thought to stop and ask ourselves: Is this what I want? We spend our lives planning it, instead of living it, and in many situations we get lost if it’s not going as we wanted. We forget or we haven’t even discovered yet, the important things in life, which those 20 amazing days remind me of. Kindness, pleasure of talking with people who understand, doing something that matters for you and for others, being helpful, being creative, learning new stuff... and the most important feeling that was present there, was Love. Love gives meaning to the meaninglessness of life, a key to everything.
Combining fun, friendship and work, we created in this project something positive that will forever stay with us: A memory which we all can recall anytime we need a happy thought. Nights we spent together talking in many different languages and comparing the similar ones with our native was the most fun for me. I’ve met so many good, smart people with a large palette of experiences, which they shared with us during workshops. The most important person I’ve met during project was Love. Didn’t care much for Love before that, I was busy with “important” stuff. Luckily it crossed my way and opened my eyes. Since then I more open hearted and much more happy.
This projects it’s something that young people need. All stuff that is learned through this, can’t be learned at school.
Shared by Marko
DAYS & NIGHTS IN SREBRENICA
Dancing the Night Away
I’ve got so many good memories from my time in Srebrenica. Rory and Filip hijacking my conversation with my sister as I was voice-noting her, then proceeding to sing ‘That’s What Friends are For’ down the phone to her.
Having girl talk with my ladies in the bar on the final night or having girl talk in bed with my roommates like we were having a sleepover.
Crying of laughter after hearing one of the strangest things ever while I was in Bato’s. Trying to have conversations with Marko and Nina despite our language barriers, and so, so much more.
However, I think one of my favourite moments was the second night in the city pub. It all started when Ruth, who was DJing on the night, asked me to come up and lead out on “The Croydon Dance”, which is more commonly known as the “Candy”, but is actually the Electric Slide danced to Cameo’s song, Candy.
I was a little nervous, because it was a new place and I didn’t really know anyone, but I rose to the challenge because I love to dance and the “Candy” is my favourite party dance. It was fun to get people who were new to the “Candy” out on the dance floor and joining in with me, as it really got the party started and it’s always interesting to watch people try to pick up the moves. I know I was a little confused when I first did the “Candy”, but it’s all groovy once you pick it up.
As I said before, the party really got started once we’d done the “Candy” and it was great seeing the city pub full of people dancing. The joy and fun I get from dancing kept the energy pumping through me, and I found myself dancing with various groups of people. It was also really weird, but really nice, to have some people exclaiming my name as I came over to dance with their group – it gave me a slight sense of belonging.
At one point, I was dragged into a group dance contest by Ljubiša, which was entertaining and a lot of fun, but also a lot for me to handle (I don’t do so great in dance contests). It was great to watch people showing off their moves and giving their all, trying outdo the other team or even outdo each other.
I really enjoyed that night, filled with fun, amusing and weird experiences that are still quite fresh in my mind now. However, the strangest part was when two random guys asked me to take a photo with each of them, which is not something that happens to me in my everyday life. In a way, Srebrenica felt like a surreal experience, which I would love to relive all over again.
Shared by Shaniqua
In my last 3 days in Srebrenica I thought a lot about my departure and the sadness it brought me. But, I also thought about the amazing chance that I had, just to be there. Everything was so wonderful, it was like a break from reality, like a nice, 20 days, dream. Discovered what Art and Love can do for humanity. Those are the only things that can't be taken from us. I invite you all to bring more Art and Love into your life and watch how everything is changing in something better. Those two combined are truly life changing. Mine changed, I changed and i'm thankful for that.
Shared by Irina