Centre for Peace Studies was not keeping still this summer – in collaboration with association Afro Badinya throughout August we organised several workshops as well as musical and dance performances in spaces around the city of Zagreb.
In the beginning of August a workshop of African mask-making and West African dance was organised in one of Zagreb’s most lively park – Ribnjak. The workshops were followed by an energetic jam session of musicians from different countries all currently living in Croatia that lasted until late in the evening. The event gathered a big crowd – both of people who planned to participate in the workshops and enjoy the music, as well as park-goers that were attracted to the vibrant sounds of West Africa. People – both local, refugees as well as other foreigners, got a chance to learn the histories of masks making and also how to create them from terracotta; and in addition, how to dance West African style! More importantly, the event was an opportunity to create spaces for dialogue, connections and sharing of colourful individual life (hi)stories between old and new members of our society.
Following the great success of the first event, the dancers and musicians of Afro Badinya (both foreigners and locals) participated in a street city festival “C’est is dBest” with dance performances in several locations in the city centre, and an impromptu evening musical performance in a closed cultural centre. Participation in the street festival provided us with the opportunity to reach lots of locals with our ideas of cultural inclusivity and sharing! Finally, in the last days of August a third event was organised – a day that focused on families! Titled Cro-Afro Family day, it provided kids a chance to participate in workshops of mask-making and African pattern drawing, while the grown-ups got a chance to learn how to play djembe drums and how to dance to an Afrobeats routine. Besides the cultural richness, the event was again a space where people could walk up and get informed about Brides project, as well as get informed about foreigners living in Croatia and create connections. All in all, our month of August was full of cultural exchange, and hopefully more events like this are coming in the near future!