The 10th Voix De Femmes Festival is the Women’s Associations edition. Voix de Femmes has been working with and within Women’s Associations in Belgium for years and, recently, in Burkina Faso. This slow and winding approach allowed us to meet women from different cultures, some of which, though from poor and isolated places, were incredibly strong and constructive. Together, they seek and find solutions – through participation, unification, and founding associations. It is to all these women, those whom we met along the way and those who don't know us yet, that we dedicate this 10th Voix de Femmes Festival.
This year, Voix de Femmes is celebrating the 10th edition of the festival and 20 years of existence. This is a wonderful opportunity bring together all the elements that make up its identity, between Liege, Brussels and Antwerp: music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film, workshops, fora and seminars shape a prism that refracts the still outdated “half of heaven” view. Since its beginnings the festival has questioned women’s place and role in the world. Through concerts, shows, works-in-progress, monologues, small-scale theatre and dance performance, visual artwork, films, seminars, debates, workshops...our objective is to always ask: in art, culture, and societies, how does women’s role play out? What are its strengths? What impact does it have? Are we finally ready to recognise it and fully understand it? In this context, one particular subtext is always implied: “La paix?” (Peace?) present in the exhibition, slid between the concerts, shows and seminars, a reflection of one historical spring: this year, three women were awarded a Nobel Prize. In our global context, we can not longer avoid asking this question. And it will be answered in full transparency.
Abibou Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), Awa Démé (Burkina Faso), Bako Dagnon (Mali), Caci Vorba (Poland), Deba (Mayotte), Dobet Gnahoré (Ivory Coast), Dona Cila (Brazil), Houria Aïchi & l'Hijâz'Car – Cavaliers de l'Aurès (Algeria), Intwatwa (Rwanda), Marta Gomez (Colombia), Nena Venetsanou (Greece), Tipougoumba Lankoande (Burkina Faso), Voci di finis terrae (Italy).
Round table: “Paths toward creation/transmission” (Belgium) Dominique Duszynski (Belgium), Juste Ciel! Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté (Belgium), Olivia Carrère (Belgium/France), Simone Gomis (Senegal), Compagnie Mezza Luna (Belgium), Fatima Gallaire (France/Algeria), L'initiatrice (Belgium), Valérie Gimenez et Sinda Guessab (Belgium/France).
Seminars on the films of Loredana Bianconi (Belgium)
Based on an idea from Béatrice Jacquet, who has brought her experience in exhibition design to Voix de Femmes for several years, the festival invites ten contemporary artists to discuss the topic of peace with a white-themed art exhibition. Some among them preferred not to openly stick to the initial theme but to let it be read between the lines, in the subtext, in its absence. Chloé Kegelart, young set designer and recent graduate from Saint-Luc, who designed the set of the “Entrez dans notre dimension” exhibition at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (Paris) will present an artistic installation of these works: Elodie Antoine, Tatiana Bohm (France/Belgium), Sylvie Canonne (Belgium), Dominique Castronovo (Belgium), Chris Delvillesafaa Erruas (Morocco), Laetitia Lefèvre (Belgium), Marianne Ponlot (Belgium), Nada Sehnaoui (Lebanon), Cécile Bertrand (Belgium).
Photography exhibition of Tano D’Amico at l’An Vert
Tano D’Amico came from the movements that rocked Italy in the 70s: protests, strikes, and housing struggles. He produced “L’autre histoire, de l’autre côté” (the other story, from the other side), also taking photos of the inside of army barracks, prisons and asylums. He captures the beauty of humans to give them back their dignity. This symposium is a result of a co-production by Voix de Femmes, La Cie Mezza Luna, FERULg, Les Chiroux and l’An Vert, with collaboration from SCAM.
Alexandra Afonso, “Femmes de Fada”, photography & “Festi-40”, documentary
As a part of the “DAANDA DEBBO” project that Voix de Femmes is carrying out in Burkina Faso with Het WCC-Zuiderpershuis from Antwerp, and the Festi-40 from Fada N’Grouma, Portuguese artist Alexandra Afonso went on an adventure to document this story. When she returned from participating in the Women’s Association Days (December 2009 and December 2010) she created a series of portraits. She also filmed the Festi-40 and a part of the seminars with the women’s civil society. These portraits and documentation of the festival will be projected at the Manège de la Caserne Fonck during the festival. There will be a whole night and day in support of these women. Alexandra Afonso studied film, in the domain of imagery, at the Lisbon Theatre and Film School of the National Conservatory. She gave workshops on imagery in film and video. She has been a part of several collective and individual photo exhibitions. She is currently involved in directing the film “Danda Debbo” and the photography series “Portrait de Femmes”. Photo & Film: Director: Alexandra Afonso. Co-production: Nefertiti asbl (L. Blondiau)
Art & Expression: Textiles and Materials/ Mail Art: Women and Peace
Throughout the year, Voix de Femmes has been working on a project with the Women's Associations of Liege, Brussels, Namur and Antwerp. This year, in parallel with the “DAANDA DEBBO” project, led by two artist-educators, Anne de Clerck and Cathy Alvarez, the participants learned the dying technique, as practised by the women of Mali: dyes on fabric that you can find at all the markets going by the name of ‘basin’. They took ownership of this technique and have since developed a new creation that they will exhibit at the Manège during the Festival.
Women’s Associations Day
The “Women's Association Day” is a space for meeting and exchanges between women from different cultures, religions, and ages. Over the course of a day, in a cultural location that is home to an international festival and in contact with artists from around the globe, women from the association’s community share meals, mini concerts, a film project, exhibition visits and dialogues.
Forum “Feminine entrepreneurship”
The 10th Voix de Femmes Festival offers to open a reflection around the theme “Feminine Entrepreneurship” through the stories of women who have founded and who manage a business. Once again at the Voix de Femmes Festival, this forum digs into women’s role in the world. Representatives from different sectors will take part: communication, handicraft, jewellery, design, deco, lighting. There will also be theatre or dance companies, contemporary art galleries, literary publications, film production and even projects whose profit are donated to international development causes. Two women from Burkina Faso who founded Women's Associations for generating small income in a region of the Sahel – our project partner in Burkina Faso – will also join us.
Cultural Seminar in Resistance (press conference)
On 1 January 1996, the Voix de Femmes Festival launched the “Cultures en résistance” (Cultures in resistance) seminar: a day where our guest female artists from several continents – heirs to strikingly different social, economic and cultural backgrounds – could sit in a circle and tell each of their stories. Singers, musicians, choreographers, authors, and filmmakers told their stories in their native language, through song or prose. We repeated this seminar in the festival until 2007. For this 10th edition, we’re opening the festival for this same meeting. This time, we're inviting the press. Attendees include artists from Burkina Faso and Mali invited as a part of our “Daanda Debbo” theme. Awa Démé, Abibou Sawadogo, Tipougoumba Lankoandé from Burkina Faso and Bako Dagnon from Mali, Deba from Mayotte, Dobet Gnahoré from the Ivory Coast, Nena Venetsanou, Greece, Loredana Bianconi, Italy, the visual artists from the “La Paix?” exhibition, as well as some theatre and dance artists from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
8th Seminar of the Solidarity Network for mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends and relatives of kidnapped or disappeared persons
Since the Voix de Femmes festival in 2000, fourteen women from diverse regions of the world were invited to share their experience on their fight for truth and justice. They criticized and raised awareness about the fact that enforced disappearance, a weapon of oppression and terror, has been used in various parts of the world and that everywhere, friends and relatives of disappeared persons, most of which are women, came together to fight for their loved ones. They stood together to say no to this barbarity. This was also the moment when these women decided to create the network, which is now coordinated in Belgium by a group of volunteers. Other women have joined them since, and these seminars have been held at each festival.
Singing & Music Workshop Tsigane with Caci Vorba (Poland/Ukraine), Intwatwa Workshop: Song & Polyrhythms of the pygmies of Rwanda, Music & Dance Workshop with Abibou Sawadogo (Burkina Faso).