How can contemporary, participative art be used as a powerful tool to bring change into the social structure? A specific situation in social need is the base to build participative arts as these react to it. The site-specific resources available are the artistic materials, used to bring about an increase of mental health, economic, cultural and social value. The artist functions as a mediator between the public and the arts.
Humanity has been the main focus throughout the history of art. Humankind is also the main topic and instrument of Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi's art. A single person or “individual consciousness” is a part of his/her society and of a community or “collective consciousness”. Being part of this society, the artist creates a collective work of art, realized as a site-specific installation. This influences the individual well-being of the participants, which will spread and subsequently increase their happiness.
In 2014 Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi founded Spazio Nour: a creative lab in Milan aimed to promote a dialogue between visual, performative and relational art.
Located in a difficult area of the city, the building in which Spazio Nour stands was known to be theatre of crime, delinquency and degradation; the artist's main purpose was to give this place a renewed life, encouraging a conscious co-existence among people
from different backgrounds and cultures.
The creation of this space was conceived as a work of art in itself, an organism in progress hosting exhibitions, events, artistic residencies and workshops socially engaged, intended to overcome mistrust and difference barriers.
Spazio Nour became a place where art and context are inextricably connected and can be considered as a sign of how even from a fracture beauty can arise.
Open Laboratory Weeks
During this performance in the framework of the Open Laboratory Weeks for the department Body and Material Reinvented of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerpen, the participants were submerged in an experience with the emphasis on the feeling of a collective consciousness.
They encountered feelings of togetherness and belonging, of each individual consciousness being part of a bigger collective consciousness by focusing on four senses all together at the same time: hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling.
The workshop functions as a reproduction of the process of Mahmoud's social-participatory arts inside (parts of) the society, to show how big their impact really is.
Photos: Wannes Cré
Art Residency Riabitare con l'Arte, Fossa, L'Aquila
In 2011, a devastating earthquake destroyed a big part of the small villages of which L’Aquila in the province Abruzzo in Italy consists of. Ten years later, the people are still reconstructing their houses one by one. Ten years later, the people are still living in temporary houses on less than a kilometre away from their former houses. Each day, they look from down in the valley up to what used to be their village higher on the hill.
The passing of the time brings its own problems along. People are getting older, younger people are moving to the big cities to search opportunities, the villages are going to be more and more empty. Houses that are renovated again, stay empty because the people don’t want to move back alone. It takes a whole group to build a community, to create the feeling of a home.
The paradisal outlook of the landscape carries the burden of a lot of sadness from locals, who keep their spirits up high and their hearts warm. During the summer months, a local organisation invited thirteen artists, amongst which Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi, for a community building project, to organise participative artworks together with all the neighbours.
Love is Univers ALL
For a day, these hearts represented love, which is the most important thing that connects people. That we need a lot of love only became clearer in the past corona year.
Let's all enjoy every moment together.
"Love your neighbor as yourself" Mark 12:31
Facade benches invite people to meet and make a neighborhood warmer.
During this workshop, which was carried out over two weekends, Mahmoud made wooden benches together with the local residents. We painted them in bright colors!
The participants then took their benches home. The gray streets of the industrial neighborhood in Merksem Dok, in the north of Antwerp, got extra color.
Take a Walk on My Culture
This project aims to give a voice and a space to discrepancies existing between different cultures. It consists of events, performances and artistic works that aim at uniting distant realities through dialogue and visual confrontation.
Workshop - Color of Soul
For four days 24 artists from different part of the world met themselves in Poland in occasion of an art project held by Brera and Krakow Fine Arts Academies. The encounter aims to trigger a dialogue without giving any name, any title and any rules, in order to speriment in massimum freedom. The only common language, was the one of Art.
The workshop was intended as an artistic collaboration between five artists: Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi, Ewelina Lekka, Aneta Doleglo, Marta Mosiolek and Joanna Jasek.
Art as Therapy
A touch of joy and color they bring together the world of art and that of solidarity leading to an astonishing result: expressive paths, colorful rooms suitable for children who attempt to lighten the hospitalition periods that patients are forced to support here. Thanks to the "Art project as therapy" devised by Donata Berger and coordinated by Margherita Sigillò for C-Zone, the House comes up with a totally new face. The realization of this initiative was made possible thanks to the support of companies and individuals that have involved lenders in the purchase of furniture (lamps, beds, chairs and TV) needed to complete the department. To renew the environments has thought a group of artists and designers there (21 in all) for free have worked together to make this place. even more familiar, painting the rooms and common areas of the department
Free Photos in the Yard
Collaborative happening with international artists invited to Milan to
work on the concept of integration through performative languages and
photography, in a context, that of Bligny 42, touched by immigration,
drug dealing and petty crime. One of these artists, Rahman Hak-Hagir,
stopped for an artistic residence, during which he developed several
projects involving the residents of the condominium, to which he
dedicated a photographic work that was presented in the courtyard of
Empathic Relations and Mental Health
The initiative Empathic Relationships & Mental Health, held three times between November and December 2018, is part of the project Treatment paths through itinerant art
supported by the City of Milan - Piano Periferie 2018. It was organized in collaboration with Fondazione Empatia Milano, Fondazione Gaetano Bertini Malgarini Onlus,
and La salute in testa. The main objective was to break down stereotypes regarding mental illness, and unite participants by creating a synergy between people of
different origins, culture and social class.
During the initiative, which free of charge and open to everyone who wanted to join, participants were given the opportunity to interact with the Human Books of the
Living Library and to create a collective work of art with the artist Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi. During this initiative, therefore, all participants gave their contribution to
the creation of a work of visual arts and calligraphy. Each one of them gave their own contribution by donating to the canvas a bit of their words, their feelings, their art,