From 20th till 22 of september 2019 the second international Madonnari Festival took place in my hometown Kevelaer. In 2017 I initiated and firstly organized this event which perfectly fits the place as it is a town of pilgrimage.
I curated the exposition and invited local, national and international streetpainting artists. The festivals host was the city marketing of Kevelaer. The local church and bank (Sparkasse) were also supporting partners.
This time also our recently founded cultural association wirKsam e.V. supported the festival and organized local artists for the music and workshop programme of the festival. Besides every night wirKsam e.V. organized an open artist network and music meeting in the associations place, the nearby KUK-Atelier- an art gallery and studio.
Concept of the festival
The international Madonnari-Festival is an open air art exposition, whose creation can be followed by the visitors from the very start till the end.
The exposition was placed in an open air church with a glass roof protection which makes it the perfect place for this event. No artist needed to fear the rain. The paintings were painted with pastel chalks, pigments and tempera colour on wooden plates of each 4 square meters.
The isolation of the place from everyday life in the city makes it possible that the visitors can deeply fall into the storyline, poetry and atmosphere of the exposition which should stimulate the visitors thinking.
With reference to the theme “present biblical stories” all artists worked out their own paintings within 3 days as interpretations of the theme. Each artist was free to chose if he or she wants to do a copy of an original artwork or do an own design. It was important that all artists express their ideas, thoughts and personal connection with the image in an information text. This text I translated into German and exposed it on an information board with the artists biography next to the painting. This helped the visitors to make a deeper and more personal contact with the painting and the artist. It helped to stimulate a dialogue between the artist and the public, the visitor gets sensitized to art, knowledge is transported and attention on determined topics is created.
Enthusiasm for art and creativity, participation, thought incentives and the exchange and dialogue about contemporary questions formed the atmosphere of the event.
Visitors could vote for their favourite image or artist which stimulated them to follow their own perception, feeling and opinion. By doing this the art experience became more important and sustainable for the visitor as it created identification.
Also the support of our cultural association wirKsam e.V. created identification of the cities citisens with the festival. Local artists, and musicians got involved and therefore attracted their relatives and friends to the festival. Besides the open artist-public meetings at night in the KUK-Atelier created sociality and hospitality.
All in all I can state that the open air church “Forum Pax Christi” did not only become a temporary art museum, but that it combined with the support of all festival partners a religiouse place with the possibility to discuss present topics and ocassions, knowledge, opinions and questions with many people from different places, social backgrounds and ages in a very nice artistic atmosphere.
With this kind of projects art gets inside the social life of cities, overcomes the borders of classical museums and the classical art world, stimulates sociality and therefore also becomes more democratic.
Videoimpressions of the festival
My personal festival report:
The forerunner of the Madonnari Festival was Abraham Burciaga from Mexico, who came to Kevelaer after his participation at the Streetpaintingfestival in Geldern already at the end of august. He lived for one week in my house in order to bridge the time gap between his following festivals in Neustadt and Delft.
He spent some time painting and sketching in Kevelaer and in the KUK-Atelier and met some members and friends of our cultural association wirKsam e.V.
Just one week after Abraham left my home I met him and 6 other Madonnari artists again at the Madonnari Festival in Delft where I colaborated with the organizers. All our artists that came from contries far away like USA, Mexico and Russia also were invited to this festival in order to make the trip /flight costs more worthy for them. It was great to have a first warm up in the Netherlands with Joel Yau, Ehecatzin, Abraham Burciaga, Vero Gonzalez, Margarita Botello, iVann Garc and Marya Kudasheva.
After the festival almost all artists went their own ways to visit places in the Netherlands or Germany to bridge the time gap between the events. Marya Kudasheva stayed with me in that week and I took her to my favourite beachbar in the Netherlands and after two days at the beach we went back home to Kevelaer where we waited till the festival started.
But than surprisingly the artists Ehecatzin and iVann Garc also arrived one day earlyer at my home and we spent a very nice (mexican) cooking evening together.
Than finally the festival started, the wooden plates were delivered and placed and the first artists arrived at the hotel. Some came by plane, some by car, some by bus or train and Michele came around 400km by bike!
At night we all met for a welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and later at the KUK-Atelier where we first got to know the flamenco guitar and singing skills of Tiberio Mazzocchi.
The first painting day was on 20 th of September 2019 – Global Climate Strike Day – As a global artist group we also did a little strike: For 15 minutes we lay down the chalks and did some alternative actions like groups massage, coffe drinking, icecream eating and a little Yoga session in which surprisingly really everybody took part!
The rest of the day everybody was painting, or doing jokes with each other…
In the evening at 6 o’clock we were all invited by the church to join a welcoming ceremony in one of the churches nearby. Unfortunately the proces of tydying up the place and gathering all the artists took too much time. We came 15 minutes too late. The ceremony was just over and once we sat down, all the other people left church. When I realised that a welcome speach was not about to come anymore, I took the chance to make a nice groupsphoto of the madonnaries in church (the only photo of its kind)!
Because of my laughter caused by this funny sight this photo is not so good focused.
Hereafter the main secretary of pilgrimage in Kevelaer Dr. Rainer Killich welcomed us for dinner with a well prepared speach in German and English at the priest house.
Hereafter the open vernissage and artist meeting in the KUK-Atelier followed. Again we made lots of music and enyojed a photo presentation of last festival’s impressions.
The next day the artists started at 8 o’clock and the streetpainting workshop with Tatjana van Went and the encaustic and quilling workshops with Günter Grader took place. Besides the musicians Paul Vens and Herman Verheijen played their atmospheric music inside the open air church.
On saturday evening the young guitar trio with Erik Tutsch, Alessia Baumgart und Paulina Heinrichs came together with their teacher Markus Birkhoff to our KUK-Atelier and played a well visited concert. Hereafter: Madonnari Jam session again!
On sunday the paintings needed to be finished till 2 o ‘clock. My brother Daniel played guitar music in between the visitors and mental lift with Syavash Rastani gave a nice atmospheric concert with their instruments Hang, Gubal, guitar and drum. In the city center the street musicians Zentzer and the acustic duo Salina Thür and Josa Fiedler played their beautiful pop songs.
When the paintings were all finished some of the visitors helped the artists to lift up the paintings and lean them against the columns all around the place.
Now the public voting was evaluated and in a final ceremony all artists and partners were presented and thanked. Tiberio Mazzocchi won the public price (an engraved glassmedal)
Hereafter the auction took place in which visitors could do an offer for the paintings. Two paintings were sold this day and in the week after another two paintings. The revenue went half to the artists and half to cultural workshops that in the future will be offered gratis in Kevelaer.
In the evening we all together brought one of the paintings to the KUK-Atelier in order to remind on the festival. Herafter we finished the festival again with an open Finissage and Jam session organized by wirKsam e.V. with a photo presentation of the actual festival. We were happy that our good friends and colleagues Edgar Müller and Ruben Poncia came from far away to join our streetpainting community this final night.
Than the festival was over. One final coffe with the last remaining artists at noontime at the local Café and most of the artists went their own ways.
Except of those who stayed till the sketching workshop in our KUK-Atelier the weekend after.” Fredda Wouters