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On Art and Transformation

On Art and Transformation

Let’s talk about art. And let’s talk about how a festival can offer young artists a chance to present their art to the public, in the midst of a pandemic. Let me introduce you to DIVE Festival. 

DIVE Festival is the yearly art event organized by ACE, ESHCC’s study association. Every year, a different organizing team comes together to create the three-day-long festival in Rotterdam, with each year having a different theme. The festival’s programme includes art exhibitions, speeches, workshops and performance arts such as live music, dance, spoken poetry and more. Papatya, Catherine and Julia – members of the EXPO committee – have agreed to talk about art and the challenges of organizing an art festival during a pandemic. 


Art festivals: For whom? And what for?

An art festival, in general, is about bringing artists of different backgrounds together and finding ways in which their styles and forms of expression interconnect under the same overarching theme. This is what DIVE is also aiming for – creating a bridge between young artists and their potential audiences, improving their visibility and offering them a chance to have the experience of performing or exhibiting in an art festival context. DIVE festival wants to attract young artists with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, as well as audiences interested in the contemporary art world. DIVE Festival is meant for anyone who is enthusiastic about art and wants to admire contemporary artworks or contribute to the year’s theme with their own work!

This year’s theme is transformation. Guiding a three-day festival, it will bring cohesiveness to the showcased art and it will encourage artists to reflect on the transformative experiences that they have been through, not just in the past year, but also in the years before the pandemic. Everything around us is in constant transformation, including ourselves – as Julia mentioned: “art to me is turmoil turned into beauty”


The when, where, and other complicated endeavours

When it comes to this year’s festival, the team has to stay flexible and prepare for different scenarios, given the obvious uncertainty of everything. At the moment, there are different scenarios prepared, meant to tackle the uncertainty of these times – the option of a hybrid festival is still on the table, in a bar/event venue located in one of the up and coming neighbourhoods of Rotterdam, but there has to be an online event prepared, with a virtual exhibition space and an online meeting where the audience and the artists can meet for exciting activities. 

There are a number of challenges to doing this, as you can imagine, and there are so many questions that are left unanswered. And not only do the organizers have to face this uncertainty, but also the artists that signed up – they will have to create performances or exhibition work that are both suitable for a virtual viewing as well as a possible live (on location) viewing. 

Despite all the challenges, the fact that we can engage with art is a thing to be excited for. And as Catherine mentioned, “especially in these times, it is pleasant to hear people talk about what they do, what they are passionate about, and most importantly see their art.” After all, an important aspect of organizing such festivals is to give the audience the opportunity to have a fun experience, either on location or in the comfort of their own homes, as Papatya shared with me. Although the shape of the festival may be different from the previous years, DIVE festival is still staying true to its purpose of encouraging young talent to express themselves creatively!


Author: Bianca Raicu

Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung 

Painter: Alexandra Dzurovcinova (cover)

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