Read and sign the Manifesto
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.
That is how civilizations heal.”
TONI MORRISON, Writer
The quest for a restart
COVID-19 is not just a health crisis.
It has proven to be also an economic, social, cultural and mental crisis.
It has reached every corner of the globe and created both a personal and a collective trauma.
The physical threat posed by the pandemic will eventually subside, but it is already clear that its consequences will linger for much longer.
This profound necessity to recover that we are all feeling, has brought us to reflect on the importance, meaning and power held in all those actions and processes of resilience, resistance, recommencement and renewal that we experience in our lives. We realized how fundamental it is to advocate and champion the mental and physical reservoir of strength and creativity that people and communities are able to gather in times of need.
The current struggle to rebuild our existences has conjured up before our eyes how personal lives and collective groups are, have been, and always will be, stories that can be told through deeds of ordinary and extraordinary endurance, healing and recommencement.
These thoughts have evoked how universal and timeless is the need and the quest for a restart.
Women, no matter what age, nationality or social background, have always universally embodied values of endurance and resilience and have proven to be a driving force in the recovery processes.
Despite this, societies are always hesitant when it comes to defending women’s possibilities, desire and right to build or rebuild their own identity outside the role that society has chosen for them.
We must also keep addressing the issue of gender gap because too many women constantly experience inequality, including when stepping into the art world.
Because of this, every woman who courageously manages to restart, in any sphere of her life, should be valued by society for what that is: an extraordinary act of resilience.
We firmly believe that the arts serve as an antidote in times of chaos, that they can be a route to clarity and force of resistance and repair, providing new registers and new languages in which to think. The arts bear witness and are a window into the world.
Sometimes the arts must perform provocatively to confront discriminatory ways of thinking and behaving, legitimized by some systems, to challenge the status quo and to act as mirrors to communities, countries and people in order to reform and rebuild societies.
Art is potent and challenging. It is a marker of social identity and makes us question who we are and triggers exploration about who we want to be.
At any time and everywhere, there are minds and souls to be healed, societies and communities to be restored and also a planet that cries for its survival.
We need and are eager to restart.
OUR MISSION TO RESTART
Taking all this into consideration, WE RESTART’s mission is to produce artistic projects (including visual art, performing and video art, video and editorial projects) which focus on themes of, or where art functions as an act/tool of:
FEMININITY AS A BEACON
When healing, resilience and recovery are needed, women have always been symbols, beacons and active forces.
WE RESTART projects also desire to contribute to championing the challenge to fill the gender gap in the art world.
They will be developed by female artists (or artists that identify themselves as females) or by non female artists that will narrate stories where women are the protagonists or that will explore topics and spheres significant to the realm of femininity, in all its facets.
Women’s path to restart has always been arduous and for this reason it should shine as an example and inspiration whenever it has the possibility to become a story.
THE POWER OF ARTS AND NARRATIVES
We passionately believe that the general public will hugely benefit from discovering the power of the stories of resilience and restart told in our artistic projects but also by directly experiencing as an audience the healing and meaning-making purposes of the arts.
The narratives presented through our projects will serve as a motivation and trigger for the public to start personal and collective acts of recommencement but also as an invaluable instrument to perceive diverse visions of the reality and to elaborate different responses and ways of thinking.
People will have the possibility to directly experience art and its capacity to inspire the imagination to imagine unimaginable possibilities.
ART ALSO FOR ARTISTS
By producing art projects, WERESTART also aims to enable artists to unleash their creative brilliance as well as to provide them with the possibility to explore, experience and present the power of healing, recovery and salvation that the act of creating art can entail.
THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
Facilitate and increase direct accessibility to art is at the heart of the WE RESTART mission.
The impossibility to visit venues and to experience cultural events during the pandemic, has conjured up how vital and fundamental art is for individuals and for society, for their need to express personal feelings and strengthen our collective consciousness and therefore make sense of the present and the past and imagine the future.
The online platforms and digital solutions have been precious instruments but we truly believe that, when the physical threat posed by the pandemic will eventually subside, the direct experience of art will be vital.
The existing “digital gap” has also further exacerbated the lack of access to culture for the most vulnerable groups that already suffer from unequal access to technology.
Online art is an extremely useful tool in time of crises, but it is undoubtedly a surrogate that can never replace the true essence of feeling art.
If it is true that “the medium is the message”, experiencing art in person is needed more than ever.
WE RESTART will be strongly anchored in the belief that art should be considered and act as a democratic agency.
Too often art, especially what is generally considered “quality art”, is labeled as elitist and intended for highbrow audiences and treated as a luxury item and a commodity.
Instead, art is a different value system.
The arts fulfill their primary functions by conveying feelings, perceptions and sensations and not through notions or facts. For this reason, we support the idea that everybody, no matter the background or education, not only has the right to access but also possesses the instruments to appreciate quality art. We believe everybody has the emotional tools and senses to experience the essence and primary nature of a creative work.
We are of the opinion that art is by its nature democratic because it speaks to everybody in the same way, conveying feelings, and one of our purposes is to make more democratic also its accessibility.
In order to contribute to achieve these goals, WE RESTART will involve in its artistic projects established artists as it aims to prove that quality art should not be perceived as too difficult to understand to the point of dissuading some categories of people from directly experiencing it. Our intent is to make every audience understand that there is no right or wrong in the sensations and impressions felt in front of artistic creations. Any fear of being judged should be abandoned in order to fully experience the unique power and value of art.
Themes of restart, survival and reconstruction of identity are universal and cut across all cultures. Different people and communities constantly experience acts of resilience and recovery, elaborating responses that can be very distant from our way of thinking or from our culture.
In this context, we truly believe art can be invaluable in exploring the narratives of “otherness” and the possibility of finding the “self” in the “other”.
To build bridges, we advocate the collaboration with national and international artists and audiences.
EDUCATE TO STIMULATE CURIOSITY
Lastly, a fundamental element of our mission is the educational aspect that WE RESTART wants to promote through its projects. If it is true that art speaks in an immediate way through feelings and perceptions, it is also undeniable that a curious mind is eager to discover the additional “layers” concealed in an artistic creation, for instance techniques, biographies, emotions or facts and events that motivated the artist.
We truly believe that art can educate to stimulate curiosity.
We passionately commit to make art accessible to people, so they can experience the wave of feelings and thoughts inspired by it but we will also provide tools to trigger the desire to discover and learn what cannot be immediately visible but that can surely enrich eager minds and souls.
London, 21st March 2021
Chiara Canal and Cristina Cellini Antonini
Artistic Directors of WE RESTART
“I’m a believer in the power of knowledge and the ferocity of beauty, so from my point of view, your life is already artful – waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.”
TONI MORRISON, Writer