The Czech part of the international residency took place from July 1st to July 15th, 2023, in Prague’s Holešovice district. A total of five artists collaborated on an artwork with a strong social subtext: illustrator Jakub Bachorík represented the Czech Republic, graphic designer Asja Komadina from Novi Sad represented Serbia, sculptor Neža Jurman represented Slovenia, dramaturge Indi Hoorweg represented the Netherlands, and comic book author Jana Adamović represented Pančevo, Serbia. All of this was under the guidance of curator Štěpánka Jislová.
During the residency, educational lectures and workshops were also held, conducted by experts from collaborating non-governmental organizations. These sessions provided the residents with statistical information about the situation of children’s homes in the Czech Republic, as well as personal experiences of individuals living within this system. The selection of the theme was explained by curator Štěpánka Jislová: “We chose young adults leaving children’s homes because few groups start their independent lives at such a disadvantage. While most of us can afford to make mistakes and learn from them, for these individuals, even a single misstep can be catastrophic. For example, being late for work, leading to unemployment, could mean losing their housing overnight. They lack the financial cushion and support network that the rest of us are accustomed to. There is also an emotional deficit. Although the children’s home might have been the best thing that happened to many of them, memories of traumatic experiences or being taken away from their original families cannot be erased. It is no wonder that statistically half of them end up homeless, in prison, or in the depths of drug addiction, often leading to premature death.”
The Prague residency has two main outputs: the first is the aforementioned mural painting on the wall of the renowned Vnitroblock café, which resulted from the collaborative work of the residents. The second output is the website www.mezikrok.cz, which provides a comprehensive overview of the project. The website includes a detailed description of the issue, accompanied by statistical data, it traces the creation of the mural, introduces the artists themselves, and, last but not least, offers specific approaches for the public to contribute to the improvement of the situation depicted in the mural. Thanks to its connection with several non-governmental organizations such as Projekt Patron, Ašta Šmé, or Nadání a dovednosti, this guide consists of simple steps, including financial support, apartment rental, or offering employment opportunities.
This project was supported by the Creative Europe program from the funds of the European Union.