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Migrant artists at the crossroad
by FREE! Magazine
2007-03-04 10:41:47
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The Third Culture is a theory by C.P. Snow, a British physicist and writer, who in 1959 treated the conflict between the humanists and the physical studies. Ten years ago, Iraqi artist Amir Khatib took that concept to explain the culture of the “in-between”, the hybrid culture between the first culture of the migrant and the second one of the hosting country. This is the focus of the European Union Migrant Artists’ Network (EU-MAN), which celebrates its anniversary with an exhibition held at the Cable Factory in Helsinki.

free magazine issue2 - ovi magazine Amir Khatib explains that the network was born with the goal of helping the artists that are in the crossroads of the third culture. “It was born of a personal need”, he says. Indeed, he arrived in 1990 as refugee from Pakistan where he was a street painter. Since his arrival, Khatib has used the concept of third culture to explain his production in Finland: “It is not a purely Iraqi production, but not pure Finnish either; of course it is related to both cultures, but it is none of them in a pure shape”. He adds that the network has been a good help to make his living as an artist. Although Khatib still does some work as a freelance journalist. “Writing is like handicraft for me”, he admits. “It is a question of food. It’s better than working in a pizza kebab”.

The Third Culture exhibition will be the work of 23 artists from five European Union countries and twelve different nationalities. This event will be remembered and a catalogue which includes articles written by art critics, Taava Koskinen, Otso Kantakorpi, Ali Najjar and Farounk Yousif.

EU-MAN helps organise large- and small-scale exhibitions. At the moment it counts more than 200 members in 13 different countries. About 60 of them live and work in Finland. It also publishes the quarterly magazine Universal Colours.

By Eduardo Alonso

The Third Culture, Puristamo, Cable Factory, Helsinki.
From 1.3 to 18.3 2007

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