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Rahraw Omarzad: Every tiger needs a horse: Where is the Horse?

Rahraw Omarzad: Every tiger needs a horse: Where is the Horse?

A project on the anniversary of the death of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

“I heard once of a Spanish feast:
Within the ring a rustic beast,
A horse, to fight was fated;
In came a tiger from his cage,
Who walked about, his foe to gauge,
And crouching down, then waited.”

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: Sidste Sang (the Last Song)


Date: 26th of April 2016
Time: 16.00 - 17.00
Loction: Oslo Sentralstasjon. Jernbanetorget. ”The Tiger Area”

Oslo’s nickname "Tigerstaden" (the tiger city) is one with which most Norwegians are familiar. The name has become associated with the Norwegian poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s poem Sidste Sang from 1870, describing a battle between a tiger and a horse, the tiger representing the dangerous city, and the horse the peaceful countryside.

Specifically referring to Bjørnsen’s poem, Omarzad has made a bronze horse for temporary installation at the station, in order to re-balance the single message of the tiger. The horse is carrying the message of peace.

To celebrate this occasion, Bjørnson’s poem, for the very first time, has also been translated into Pashto, Persian and Arabic-carrying its message to an international audience.

It is envisaged that one day Bjørnsen’s poem and its contemporary political reading will be celebrated in the realization of two full scale bronze horses – one in Oslo, and one in Kabul. Simultaneously in Kabul, the idea would be to open an exhibition by the Women’s Art Center of CCAA (Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan) to carry the message of the poem.

The CCAA is an independent artistic and cultural center, which Omarzad founded in 2004, providing equal opportunities for women and men in order to be able to express themselves as creative artists and to implement new ways of looking at art within Afghanistan - embracing freedom of expression, self-reliance, peace, democracy and justice in civil society.

With help from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo, the CCAA has been able to maintain the only women’s art center in Afghanistan in order to promote the advancement and empowerment of women as an integral part of the process of democratization.

The main aim of this project is to open channels for further joint cultural exchange, between Norway and Afghanistan.

Rahraw Omarzad is an Afghan artist, writer, professor at Faculty of Fine Arts, Kabul University, founding director of Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan together with the Women’s Art Center, and founding editor of the Art Magazine “Ghanama-e-Hunar”. He is currently in Oslo, on a two year M.A. project, at the Academy of Fine Art.

Scenarios for Going Public - A Pilot Project of the Academy of Fine Art at Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Where is the public? Do we find it or make it? Is it a Public with a capital first letter as in Oslo, Norway and the modern Nation state? Or a small p as in 'push it'? To push for a public would be the attempt to invest passion into the fiction of a place that was not already taken but, for a split second, owned by no one.

Scenarios for Going Public is a pilot project for students of the Master's programme at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. In their first year, students will seek out people and places outside the Academy and, through their art, create moments of engagement with urban culture and civil society. Risking vulnerability, they will expand their practice and test the premises of what's impossible and what's possible within the horizon of their work. Art and politics alike thrive on situations in which people can communicate their concerns to each other. Scenarios for Going Public is an experiment in generating such conversations.

Each master student will be guided by a teacher to do an independent project over the course of one year. This could include organizing encounters, research groups or public programmes, performing interventions and activating situations in the city, or any other practice which reconfigures what the public can be and what artists can do to engage it.