Speakers – AR Pavilion Venice 2024

Mahnaz Jarchi

Screenwriter and audiovisual producer

Mahnaz Jarchi began her career in filmmaking in 2016 as a production assistant on Iranian director Mahmoud Ghaffari's film Hair; the work won the Talent Award at the Festival International de Films de Fribourg in Switzerland. Since then, she has participated as assistant director on numerous projects such as Mahmoud Ghaffari's No, 17 Sohelia, a film that was nominated in 2019 for the Oscars for Best Foreign Film. As a screenwriter, she has written The Apple Day, directed by Mahmud Ghaffari and which was presented at the 72nd Berlinale. She is currently part, together with Mahmoud Ghaffari, of the European project Artists at Risk (AR), to help persecuted artists and is preparing Blue Girl, a film about Iranian girls and the impositions they receive from the government and their families.

Said Ahmed Mohamed Alhassan

Visual artist, Tunis/Khartoum

Said Ahmed Mohammed Alhassan is a visual artist from Sudan who interweaves his background in engineering with fine art. His talent was first recognized when he clinched the award for the best graduation project at the College of Fine Arts and graduated with first-class honours in 2016. Currently residing in Tunisia, he immerses himself in artistic endeavours through an Artists at Risk (AR)-Residency at ArtVeda. Concurrently, he is pursuing a master's degree in animation at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis. Through his art, Said Ahmed offers a unique lens to observe societal transformations. His portfolio encapsulates a diverse range of mediums and techniques, reflecting his creative versatility.  In 2014, Said Ahmed was awarded the golden prize at the Khartoum Mobile Cinema for an animated WhatsApp film which he designed scenes and illustrated for. In 2017, he showcased his works in a duo exhibition hosted at the Cultural French Center Khartoum. Some of his notable mosaic murals are 'Kordofan Culture' at El Obeid International Airport in 2018 and 'Utopia' at Khartoum in Sudan, sponsored by the Goethe-Institut in 2021. He also participated in the "Art Meets Cultural Politics" project sponsored by the German Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2022 and shared his expertise in mosaic murals at various forums in Tunisia in 2023.

Romana Cacchioli

Secretary General, PEN International

Romana Cacchioli joined PEN International in 2014 as Director of International Programmes. She has been its Executive Director since 2020 and works closely with the International Board to manage the day-to-day operations of the Secretariat based in London, with oversight of the organization's work including emergency support to writers at risk, strategy and programmatic development. Romana has over 25 years of experience working in human rights, including at Anti-Slavery International where she led their Programmes and Advocacy team in advocating for reform in law and policy and redress through national courts for those affected by slavery. She also worked as a Programme Coordinator with Interights - the International Centre for the Protection of Human Rights where she coordinated programmes in Asia and Africa.

Anaïs Chagankerian

UNESCO (Paris)

Anaïs Chagankerian is an Associate Project Officer at the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Entity of UNESCO’s Culture Sector in Paris. She works in the coordination of the UNESCO-Aschberg Programme for Artists and Cultural Professionals, which is the operational arm of UNESCO supporting reforms and grassroots initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting artistic freedom and the status of the artist worldwide. Among other things, she works on the protection of artists in emergency situations and is notably the UNESCO focal point for actions in support of artists at risk in Ukraine. She holds an MA in International Conflict Analysis and an MA in Geopolitics.  


Performance artist, Nicaragua (also in Venice Biennial exhibition)

Elyla (Nicaragua) is a performance artist and activist from Central America, Chontales, Nicaragua. Their work deals with creating resistance to colonial, imperialist, and Western ideologies around the construction of identity politics and nation-state cultural narratives, specifically as it relates to mestizaje, queerness (cochoneidad), and indigenous ancestry. Elyla has presented their work at the IX/X Biennial of Nicaragua, IX/X Central American Biennials, and the XII Biennial of Havana, Cuba and will be part of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia curated by Adriano Pedrosa. The artist's early work dealt with contesting the patriarchal and repressive narratives upheld by the Latin American left and its effect on queer existence. Their project Machete Dress was a grant recipient of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) 16th annual Grants & Commissions Program. They are also a 2020 Artist Protection Fund Fellow (APF-IIE),  Prince Claus Seed Awardee 2021 and recently awarded a Moving Narratives Mentorship Award 2024 by the PCF. They work and live in Masaya, Nicaragua.

Tessa Giller

Prince Claus Foundation

Tessa Giller is Head of Programmes at the Prince Claus Foundation, where she oversees the successful continuation and growth of the Prince Claus Awards and the Exchanges programme, which connects Awards recipients with other cultural practitioners in the Prince Claus Fund’s international network, cultural institutions and venues in the Netherlands.

Elisabeth Goula

Head of the Debates Programme, CCCB

Elisabet Goula Sardà has been the head of the debates programme at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) since 2019. In this position, she has worked to foster public debate around key challenges of contemporary society and the role of arts and culture in the face of current global threats. She has been responsible for multiple local and international large-scale projects such as the literary festival Kosmopolis, the Open City Biennale and the Artist at Risk (AR) residencies at CCCB. She is also responsible for the European Prize for Urban Public Space, a biennial award organized by CCCB that recognizes works that best improve the democratization of public spaces in European cities. Elisabet Goula Sardà has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and an MPhil in Humanities with research on abstract art and politics in the 20th Century. She has authored various scholarly publications and has collaborated with the Catalan newspaper Ara.

Timea Junghaus

Director, ERIAC

Tímea Junghaus is an art historian and contemporary art curator of Roma/Sinti origin. She is the founding director of the European Roma Cultural Foundation, an independent foundation that established Gallery8 – Roma Contemporary Art Space in Budapest, Hungary. Gallery8 won the 2014 Katalizátor Award and in the same year the Otto Pankok Prize of the Stiftung zugunsten des Romavolks (Foundation for the Benefit of the Romani People), set up by German writer and literary Nobel laureate Günter Grass.

Marja Karttunen

Saastamoinen Foundation

Marja Karttunen is the director of the Saastamoinen Foundation. She holds a B.A.Sc. in Cultural Management and Production. Since 1968, Saastamoinen Foundation has supported art and artists, education, and cutting-edge research as well as social projects for children and young people. The promotion of international research, education and networking is one of the foundation's top priorities. This is done in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts, University of Eastern Finland, and Aalto University and roughly 50 collaborative projects. The Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection is one of the major collections in Finland. The Foundation actively collects both Finnish and international art for its collection, which is permanently displayed at EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art. The foundation has been collaborating with Artist at Risk (AR) since 2018.

Nikita Kravtsov

Artist, Paris/Kyiv

Nikita Kravtsov is a Ukrainian artist who was born in Yalta in 1988. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv in 2010 and now lives and works in Paris. Since 2015, he has been collaborating with his partner Camille Sagnes under the name ‘TheTooth&TheRoot’. The duo has conceived numerous exhibitions in France and internationally. Their videos, installations, paintings and embroideries underline the nonsensical fate our society seems to be heading toward.  From the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, Kravtsov has been very active in intervening on the streets to raise public awareness through murals, stencils, guerrilla advertising and more. In June 2022, he co-organized the highly acclaimed solidarity exhibition ‘Guerre’ at 59Rivoli, curated by Pierre Ponant.

Magdalena Landry

Director, UNESCO Office Venice

Magdalena Landry (Poland) is the Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, in Venice, Italy. She has over 30 years of professional experience in UNESCO and since December 2018, she has held the position of Chief of the Executive Office of the Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX), together with the functions of Head of the Bureau for Field Coordination and Support within the same PAX Sector. Landry has a Master of Science in Organisational and Business Psychology from the University of Liverpool (UK), as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration from the American University of Paris (France).

Theresa Lekberg

SWAN - Swedish Artist Residency Network

Theresa Lekberg is a performance and visual artist, residency host and project manager for SWAN (Swedish Artist Residency Network) Emergency residencies. Theresa is a founder and host of two artist residences in Sweden. In 2022, she initiated SWAN Emergency residencies in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She worked as a coordinator for artists in conflict zones to have safe residencies in Sweden by establishing a collaboration between SWAN and Artists at Risk (AR), matching 116 artists to SWAN ER residencies. She is also a board member of SWAN.

Nkoshilathi Moyo

Activist-poet and human rights defender, Zimbabwe

Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo is a human rights activist, writer and artist based in the mining town of Kwekwe in central  Zimbabwe. He has had Artists at Risk (AR)-Residencies in Berlin, Helsinki and Ghana.

Moyo uses various forms of art including poems, protest songs and writing to advocate for human rights and the application of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Born in 1987, Moyo started writing poems at the age of eleven. His first poem, ‘Ndini Mari Ndakumedzai’ (Money the root of all evil) was published by the Makonde Star. He’s since written numerous poems, protest songs and books challenging dictatorship and denouncing systematic human rights violations in Zimbabwe which resulted in political persecution.

He has written two books: 'Robert Mugabe: From Freedom Fighter To The People’s Enemy'(2015) and 'Zimbabwe: A Revolution Waiting To Happen' (2015). He has released an album titled 'Pisarema raNkosilathi' (Psalms of Nkosilathi) a week before the fall of President Robert Mugabe.

His songs were played when Zimbabweans thronged the streets of Harare in November 2017 in protests against Mugabe’s dictatorship. Moyo was recognized internationally after sending Robert Mugabe a prison uniform marked ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ as a present when he turned 92 – and since then, has has become a target of various militia groups in Zimbabwe.

He is the co-founder and Director of the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth In Politics (Z.O.Y.P), a non-partisan youth organization seeking youth participation in electoral processes and citizenship rights defense.

His artistic work seeks to challenge the status quo and condemn Zimbabwe’s oppressive government.

Simon Mraz

Co-founder State of the Art(ist), a project by Ars Electronica and Austrian Foreign Ministry

Simon Mraz (b.1977) is an art historian, curator and co-founder State of the Art(ist), a project by Ars Electronica and Austrian Foreign Ministry. Mraz studied history of art at Sorbonne, Paris 1 and the University of Vienna. Upon graduation, he joined the Austrian Auction House Dorotheum where he worked in different departments, helped to start and run the auction house’s new branch in Milan and assisted the chief expert on Old Master Paintings. He is currently working with the Culture Department of the Austrian Foreign Ministry to develop new formats of international culture projects, with a focus on the cultural space east of the European Union. He is co-founder of the main Austrian program to support Ukrainian Artists having fled to Austria with three offices in Vienna, Graz and Insbruck (and comprising a fund of 500,000 Euro dedicated to Ukrainian-Austrian art projects) run by the Culture Ministry of Austria, co-founder of State of the Art(ist), virtual Kunsthalle and the Award for Artists at Risk (a cooperation of Ars Electronica Festival and the Austrian Foreign Ministry) and initiator and manager of the Open Call project ‘On The Road Again’ which invites Austrian Artists for grants and art productions at Austrian Cultural Forums around the world. Aside from those projects, Mraz is part of the new curatorial team of MuseumsQuartier Vienna and runs cultural projects in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Ministry. From 2009 to 2020, he was the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow and since then has been curating various Austrian-Russian and European-Russian cultural projects. Mraz has organized a series of art projects exploring the Russian regions together with European and Russian artists. These projects are some of the most successful independent cultural projects produced in Russia before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He maintains care and concern for independent, ciritical artists from Russia.

Sari Multala

Finnish Minister of Science and Culture

Sari Multala is the Minister of Science and Culture of Finland and an Olympic sailor. A three-time world champion in sailing, Multala served as the head coach of the Finnish national sailing team in 2013–2015. She has held many positions of trust in the field of sport, both during her sporting career and afterward. Multala first entered Parliament in 2015. Since then, she has served in the Education and Culture Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the Environment Committee, the Intelligence Oversight Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee. Multala has been a member of Vantaa City Council since 2013 and chaired Vantaa City Executive since 2017.

Marita Muukkonen

Co-Founder and Co-Director of Artists at Risk (AR), Ecologists at Risk (ER) and Perpetuum Mobile (PM)

Marita Muukkonen is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Artists at Risk (AR), Ecologists at Risk (ER) and Perpetuum Mobile (PM). Marita has been a curator at FRAME – Contemporary Art Finland, an editor of FRAMEWORK: The Finnish Art Review, Chairperson of the Helsinki International Artists-in-Residence Programme (HIAP) and held key functions at the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art (NIFCA). She has curated exhibitions, seminars and events at museums such as MoMA in New York, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Moderna Museet in Sweden, Kiasma in Finland and in biennials including the Perpetual Romani/Gypsy Pavilion (Venice 2009), The Finnish Pavilion (2009), The Arts Assembly (Manifesta 8, 2010), the Nordic Pavilion at Dak’art Biennale (2012), the School of Displaced Persons (Kiev Biennial, 2015) and the Athens Biennial (2015-17). As Co-Director of Perpetuum Mobile, she has Co-Founded long-term thematic projects such as The Raw, The Cooked and The Packaged, Re-Aligned Project, The Arts Assembly, Pluriculturalism and PLURIversity, with several iterations in museums, biennials and artist-run spaces and festivals. Marita has also served as a member of several juries, such as the State of Artist(ist) Prize in ArtElectronica. Additionally, she is a contributor to art publications and a regular speaker at international seminars and conferences. Previously, she worked as a Special Advisor in the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and in the Arts Council of Finland

Ernesto Ottone Ramirez

Assistant Director General for Culture, UNESCO

Mr Ernesto Ottone R. (Chile) is UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture

Kajsa Ravin

Director General of the Swedish Arts Council

Kajsa Ravin has extensive experience working with arts and culture locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has a distinct interest in international matters and cultural diversity. She has worked with a wide variety of cultural institutions and organizations, and she is strongly committed to making arts and culture accessible and relevant to broad audiences.

Alongside being Director General for the Swedish Arts Council she serves at the board of directors of International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) as well as the Nordic Culture Fund. Kajsa Ravin holds a BA in Art History from the University of Gothenburg.

Kaisa Rönkkö

Chairperson, Finnish Arts Promotion Centre (Taike)

Kaisa Rönkkö is the Director of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike). She has previously served as Executive Director of Music Finland, Head of the Orchestra Department at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Senior Coordinator at the Defence Forces as well as manager and partner at Fazer Artists Management Inc. She has also worked in various production tasks in the cultural sector and as a freelance musician and music teacher.

Margit Rosen

Head of Collections, Archives and Reserach at ZKM | Karlsruhe

Margit Rosen is an art historian and curator. In 2016, she established the department "Collection, Archives & Research" at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, which she has headed since then. With a background in art history, political science, philosophy, and media arts, she has taught at various universities, including  at the State Academy of Art and Design Karlsruhe (HfG), the Danube University Krems, the Academy of Fine Arts Münster and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Her research, publications and curatorial work is centered on 20th and 21st century art, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between art, society, and new technologies.

Barış Seyitvan

Artist and curator, Berlin/Diyarbakir

Bariş Seyitvan is an independent Kurdish artist and curator from Diyarbakir, Turkey who currently lives in Berlin, Germany. His professional experience spans 20 years of work with arts organizations, individual artists and nonprofits. Seyitvan‘s focus is on contemporary art and migration in the Middle East. His work explores and reflects the trans-national reality of the global Kurdish community.  Seyitvan‘s exhibitions examine subjects that touch on history, ecology, geography and politics, as well as broader cultural themes of language, exile, gender and displacement, which have long dominated the Kurdish experience. He maintains relationships with a large number of Middle Eastern artists living in various parts of the world and organizes exhibitions in various cities globally.  Bariş Seyitvan was an Artists at Risk (AR)-Resident in Helsinki and Berlin. Find out more about his works and curatorial projects on his website.

Hito Steyerl

Filmmaker and writer based in Berlin

Hito Steyerl (b. 1966) is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her prolific practice occupies a highly discursive position between the fields of art, philosophy and politics, constituting a deep exploration of late capitalism’s social, cultural and financial imaginaries. Her films and lectures have increasingly addressed the presentational context of art, while her writing has circulated widely through publication in both academic and art journals, often online.   She studied Documentary Film Directing at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image and at the HFF – University of Television and Film in Munich. She subsequently studied Philosophy at the Academy of the Arts in Vienna, where she received her doctorate.   She is Professor for Experimental Film and Video at the UdK – University of the Arts, Berlin, where she founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics together with Vera Tollmann and Boaz Levin.

Ivor Stodolsky

Co-Founder and Co-Director of Artists at Risk (AR), Ecologists at Risk (ER) and Perpetuum Mobile (PM)

Ivor Stodolsky is a curator, writer and theorist. He is co-founder and co-director of Perpetuum Mobile (PM) and Artists at Risk (AR), an international NGO which has relocated over 850 artists at risk from around the world through the AR-Network of over 300 hosting institutions. Recent curatorial projects include the symposium "Institutions and Resistance - Alliances for Art at Risk" at ZKM | Karlsruhe (2022), a widely-covered intervention at the Venice Biennale 2022, and “Risk and Rebellion” a 7-hour livestream from G-Livelab, Helsinki (2021). A French-US citizen, he has migrated from city to city across Europe. With studies in Philosophy and Mathematics (Bristol University), he has worked in media (Project Syndicate, 'The World's Opinion Page'), returned to academia (Birkbeck, University of London; University of Helsinki), built institutions such as PM/AR, and curated internationally. Academic articles include A Multi-Lectic Anatomy of Stiob and Poshlost’; curatorial publications include The Raw, The Cooked and The Packaged - The Archive of Perestroika Art (Kiasma Museum); The Arts Assembly (Manifesta 8); The Square and articles such as 21st Century Re-Alignments in Art and Politics.

Issa Touma

Photographer and filmmaker, Aleppo

Issa Touma is a self-taught photographer and film director based in Aleppo, Syria. His work can be found in several international collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and FOMU Museum in Antwerpen. His 2016 film, ‘9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo’ won Best Short Film at the European Film Awards, Best Short Film at the London Film Festival and the Tribute Award at the International Short Film Festival in New York. ‘9 Days - From My Window In Aleppo’ has been screened in over 60 festivals and about 50 cultural events worldwide.  His 2017 film, ‘Greetings from Aleppo’ opened the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR). It won the DIG Award in Italy in 2017 and the DirectorsNL Award in the Netherlands in 2018. ‘Young in Aleppo’, his latest film, won the Jury Award at the Paris Short Film Awards in 2023. Issa Touma was also a World Press Photo Contest jury member in 2023 and a World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest winner in 2019. Issa Touma was an Artists at Risk (AR) Resident, hosted in cooperation with HIAP at AR-Safe Haven Helsinki. Following his residency, he returned to Aleppo and reopened his gallery, the LePont Gallery for Contemporary Photography.

Aws Zubaïdy

Actor and dancer, Verscio/Bethlehem

Aws Al-Zubaïdy (b.1993) is a Palestinian actor and director currently living in Verscio, Switzerland. Al-Zubaïdy's theatrical journey began in Palestine, where he graduated from the Drama Academy Ramallah/Folkwang University for the Arts in Essen, Germany. To further enrich his skills, Al-Zubaïdy underwent training in acting at the Tunisian National Theater. This experience marked a significant milestone in Al-Zubaïdy's career, contributing to his growth both as an actor and as a director. Al-Zubaïdy's theatrical journey has taken him across borders, with performances and direction in Palestine, Germany, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia and Switzerland. His diverse cultural experiences have shaped his artistic sensibility, allowing him to bring a unique perspective to each stage he treads. Currently pursuing a master's degree in theater at the Dimitri Theater Academy in Switzerland, Al-Zubaïdy aspires to create a bridge between theatrical traditions and his new base. Focusing on the exploration and development of physical theater, he sees it as an arena for research and exchange of theatrical experiences. Aws Al-Zubaïdy was an Artists at Risk (AR)-Resident in Tunisia.

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