COTA FOR ART AND SOCIETY
COTA: Contemporary Creation and Traditional Arts for Social exchange in a non governmental organisation and association based in Paris. Our members have been engaged in a wide range of cultural, educational and associative activities for much longer within different legal frames as liberal professionals and as certified micro business owners since 2014.
COTA’s main objective is the use of visual arts as means of communication in addition to linguistic and cultural education in order to raise awareness about current social problems, to fight exclusion and ethnic or religious prejudgment through trainings, public events and publications and by ensuring an intercultural dialogue.
Our approach is based on valuing the notions of diversity and multiple identities in order to help people especially of Central European and Middle-Eastern origin living in hosting culture to give a meaning to their culture of origin while assisting their integration to local society.
Our different actions target hosting communities as well by enhancing cultural enrichment by adopting new cultural and artistic forms of expression.
Our most important activities of the past ten years have been :
1. Personalised linguistic and artistic programs and alternative educational materials for adults and for children to guarantee access to culture of origin.
- We use visuals arts as a method to reconstruct a positive feeling about original identity. This was the idea behind the educational program of the association Amal wa Salam from Jordan to which Cota has participated by creating drawing games and illustrations for a workbook for Syrian children living in refugee camps of the neighbouring countries.
- The events organised for the illustrated story of Nadia et Said were targeting people outside of Syria to build awareness of the war crisis. We organised two exhibitions of the tale’s original paintings and a public lecture with collect of donation in collaboration with the association Souria Houria and Generation 2010 à l’Auberge des idées.
- Cota has been working in collaboration with several other associations particularly in France such as Auberbabel et Nos petits magyars, organising and animating linguistic trainings accompanied by culinary and artistic activities. We have set up continuous individual trainings for adults and children mainly of Hungarian or Arabic origin. We also described our experiences and worked on the theoretical background of teaching language of origin in a foreigner country at the request of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. (read article in hungarian)
2. Animations and short movies about cultural segregation and intercultural dialogue
- The following short movie, directed by Matthieu Morandeau was made with the participation of children and young adults of different origins living in socially disadvantaged suburban areas in collaboration with the association Divipassion.
3. Exhibitions of handcrafted products and artworks, participation to local fairs and cultural events.
- We are enhancing women’s role in local suburban communities through artistic creation:
- We have organised and participated to several exhibitions with our own works of art in several European cities such as Paris, Warsaw, Budapest, Krakow, Brno, Saumur, Grudziadz, Villejuif, Athis-mons and Maisons-Alfort :
4. Disseminating and scientific publications about Middle-Eastern and Central-European art and culture
- Publication of graphic short stories in the journal of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris with the objective of raising awareness about contemporary issues concerning the Arab world and about ‘Western’ prejudgements against Islamic culture.
- Articles and scientific publications about Islamic cultures, arts and societies
5. Translating contemporary literary production
- We contribute through our publications to make contemporary literary production from the Middle-East and from Central-Europe available through translations. These readings represent an alternative way to give access to culture of origin instead of adopting nationalistic or religious ideologies but it is also a mean to create cultural dialogue between migrants and local society. We have translated Middle-Eastern Arabic poets’ work such as Adonis and Saadi Yousef.
6. Participation to international conferences
7. Crating recycled handcrafted products and artworks
- Our handcrafted objects, such as recycled jewelry, board-games and decorative objects are made of recycled materials such as paper and wood waste. We recycle not only materials but also existing ornaments coming from different cultures. We associate different ethnic and cultural sources, so that our artworks symbolise the richness of multicultural identity and ethnic diversity. The objects that we create emphasise the idea that associating different ethical and cultural sources may be a method to create novelty in artistic creation.
- In the framework of our fundraising but also in order to build consciousness about the environmental aspect of artistic creation we often participate to local fairs and cultural events.