| Degenerated: thinking, painting or writing differently. | - |New Degenerate Art | Berzan Kejo |

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The first Kurdish 3D game

From an extreme point of view, this game will shed light on my black reality. I want to revive Barzani, in the sense that ethics and loyalty are revived, especially because this great traveling exhibition about him has not been supported.
For me, this person I adore is like Ho Chi Minh, Gandhi, Che Guevara or Mandela. But his engagement was limited in a wild area.


For me he is a hero who will probably never come back. And because media, such as 3D games, let your imagination run wild, you can go according to your conviction and your current mood. In this game there will be different levels or game worlds, which all play in my hometown and surroundings. Scenes, landscapes and people with traditional clothes and customs, that‘s what I attach great importance to.

Ruto is the avatar who wants and has to implement Barzani‘s orders.


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New Degenerate Art - catalog

My new catalog was published in autumn 2020, showing a cross-section of my work.
In addition to images of my works from the mid-1980s to 2020, there is a lot to read: I tell about my career and  about important, formative stations in my life. My poetry is also included.
The catalog is written in three languages (English, German, Arabic).
  
It also contains a few pages in Kurdish, my mother tongue, which was not allowed to be taught because of the ban in Syria. Therefore many people, including myself, unfortunately do not have a good command of writing.
New degenerate art
 
Berzan Kejo
ISBN print: 978-3-9815342-07
RODA Release 2020
 
Publication date: Autumn 2020









Extract

Preface

Art is a mirror of (western) society. Although many active people in the art world are often convinced that they are its counter-image, this subsidized self-description is only valid within their bubble. Sociologically, so-called contemporary art has a remarkable function. It demonstrates the basic openness of a relatively small group to what will remain alien to most people. This is something different from tolerance, but is considered as its symbol. Or does society use this detour to show how selective its magnanimity is?
With his texts and works, Berzan Kejo points to a sore point in the system. If everyone is an artist, why is the genuine expression of the individual experiences of a Kurdish refugee in Germany not art? Kejo starts out from content. He has images in his head and he wants to share them. But the art world won‘t let him. He is not alone in this. Interestingly, Kejo does not react submissively to this, but responds to the injury with an angry all-round punch, culminating in a persiflage of the Bremen Town Musicians. Although the group conveys a different message as a symbol of solidarity, in everyday life, as Kejo experiences it, Orwell‘s observation applies that while all animals are equal, some animals are more equal.
German readers with a knowledge of history will be embarrassed by Kejo‘s use of the term »degeneration«. He reminds us how naturally racist stereotypes live on. The reflex to affirm one‘s own anti-racism is unnecessary. The question is to what extent Kejo is right, and what can be done about it on a large and small scale? Like Ibram X. Kendi put it clearly, there is either racism or anti-racism and nothing in between. By claiming a new variant of the term »degeneracy«, Kejo opposes the art world, which is ultimately just a mirror of society. Expressed positively, he shows that it is nonetheless possible to raise one‘s own (aesthetic) voice and reach an audience beyond (and sometimes within) the aforementioned world through memorable visual ideas.

Dr. Arie Hartog
Director of Gerhard-Marcks-Haus Bremen










“As long as I‘m walking upright
I don‘t care if my shadow looks crooked for others“
Che Guevara





About my career
 
 
Art is like a companion, who participated in all these situations and epochs.
When I was a child, I saw the long eyebrows of Cegerxwin (the most famous Kurdish poet) who always used to pass by us children while we were playing.
 
(…) I learned art in the old faces of my relatives and neighbors, I made art out of the red earth on which Qamischlo stands. (…) Until paper and booklets for painting came into my life.
 
Until this time, I used olive branches as brushes and pens, painting on the red earth.
 
(…) My oldest brother Mohammed was my first role model, because he could sketch very well with pencil. I loved him and he did not mind teaching me his skills.
 
 
 
(…) Our new art teacher in the eighth grade, a calm and kind man, was more likeable from the first moment. His name was Khalil Mustafa. We became friends after a while, and he invited me to his studio and his apartment. This moment was one of the nicest moments in my life. I was invited by my art teacher as a colleague! (…)
 
This new art teacher became the light in my black pictures. I visited him regularly and if I didn‘t have any reason to visit him, I asked my father whether he wanted me to bring a kilogram of smuggled tobacco to his father, who was his customer. (…) For art, nothing was too dangerous for me. “Ah, Mr. Teacher, I have brought some tobacco for your father.“ (…) “What do you recommend, Mr. Teacher, how should I and what should I draw?“ He answered, “Draw
 
something you see, no matter what it is. You must get to know shapes, light and shadow. Your hand should get used to pen and brushes.“ Then he showed me on that occasion his slippers which were wet from the night‘s rain.
 
These words motivated me strongly, and I thus found my artistic career; I did not only draw
 
what I saw but also what I felt. So, art became a part of me.
 
 
 
(…) After so many efforts and stress, in January 1986 I finally arrived in the Promised Land. My forged passport took me to Germany, not me. Actually, I wanted to go to Sweden, but I got stuck in transit in Germany. We were a little spoiled in the asylum camp, almost all German food was sweetened. We never got anything tasty and salty, there was sugar in every dish. My first accommodation after staying in the first asylum camp was near Bremen. (…)
 
The small house had no kitchen. There were a couple of mobile heaters, that was fine. But the cold wind blew through the broken windows, the toilet was outside. The problem was the weather, because this month it snowed a lot and there was ice. And people like me who came from the south did not know this weather.
 
The toilet was outside and roofless and the water was frozen. Every one of us who needed to go to the toilet had to heat up a big pot of water to melt the block of ice in the loo in order to wash away his “remains“ with a bucket of water.
 
It was an alcoholic institution, a pig sty. I thought that‘s how concentration camps looked like.
 
This unwelcome of the German government for foreigners was obvious. Even German pigs had it warmer than us. To say this miserable state was a shock for me is not enough. I even wondered if I was human and even asked if I had parents who loved me. A neighbor who was an alcoholic just taught us the word “capito“ because he thought that all foreigners came from Italy.
 
 
 
On the subject “My Germany”
You can find narrow-minded people everywhere but many more in Germany, that‘s my impression. I heard of “German Angst“, maybe that‘s the problem. It´s everyone´s right to protect his own country from scammers and outlaws. Some migrants also played their part that laws became more strict. They thought that in Germany, unlike their own countries, everything is allowed and they could afford anything. Whether stealing, cheating or evading taxes. As the good Kurdish saying, “A rotten apple can rot the whole box.“
 
When I had my advertising company, I experienced a bad situation. A customer had not paid his bill and I asked him to finally pay. He became aggressive, hit me and stabbed me with a sharp object. I then went to the police to file a complaint against him. When the policeman at the station prepared the papers and asked me for the name of the perpetrator, I said the name. Instantly, the policeman’s facial expression changed. He got up and said no, he was sorry, he would not accept the charge. Rude and nervous I was discharged from the police station.
 
This sentence made me feel as if the world had collapsed. I wanted to get my rights, but I realized that there are higher forces here in this country in the middle of Europe and that really scared me and made me feel hopeless. (…)
 
What was going on? My client belonged to a powerful tribe that had spread in Bremen and other parts of Germany. (…) The reaction of the policeman made me sure that he was either afraid of this tribe or was bribed by them. I had wanted to solve a small problem, but it had given me a big problem. I thought about contacting the federal police. But then I thought that I would end up in a huge avalanche and in the end I would be the loser. That‘s why I did not do it.
 
Now I had to forget that I was in a constitutional state and I had to solve the situation by tribal talks as in a feudal state, because the danger lurked around me. I was once again a defenseless in this Germany.
 
But the good news: After talking to the tribal leader, I even got my money. Since this case, I no longer believe in the German constitutional state, which supposedly has everything under control, but here as in the so-called Third World countries, the bribery is running at full speed. But you have to live in it like me, to realize how dangerous Germany is for those who have no connections like me. You have to come to such a situation, to realize how susceptible is the rule of law in this wild Germany.
 
 
 
On the subject „State Artist Promotion“
I often applied to the state artist promotion in Germany, but always got rejections. The funding of preparatory measures for the production of my feature film by the cultural film promotion was an exception. After I had given it up, I tried again one day at the Bremer Kulturförderung. I had developed a project for the town twinning between Izmir (Turkey) and Bremen, with a precise timetable, for everything was to be presented for the twentieth anniversary of the partnership. There was no answer, not even a rejection, and I was disappointed again. But one day I got a call and a man said in a deep voice, “Are you Mister Kejo? Your Izmir project has been accepted.“
 
I replied, “I have a schedule for this project. Did not you read my application? You are very late with your acceptance. Read my plan! Now it‘s too late for my project!“
 
Why was I notified too late? (…)
 
 
On the subject „Integration“
Integration can be a very nice thing if it is not determined from above. It‘s like democracy, it has to come from the people, from the grassroots. The package of integration was decreed from above. It would have been important to give a xenophile lesson beforehand. In my opinion, politicians failed to say that immigration is necessary. They did not put it on the agenda, and they did not honestly say, that we will become fewer and if things go on like that, we will be threatened by extinction.
 
Helmut Kohl, who was named chancellor of reunification, brought the “Aussiedler“ (Russian emigrants) to Germany. (…)He and his successors had to call Germany back then what it is: an immigration country. The rulers should have turned the shock for the people into many minor shocks and not expect it all at once, as it was the case with the open doors in 2015.
 
Then they suddenly opened the borders and everyone was allowed to come in in order to keep the pyramid upright.
 
The basis for an intercultural society should have already been prepared in 1986, when I came to Germany. I came in the time when Hitler had long disappeared. But I heard the song in discos and pubs “We dance Adolf Hitler, we dance Mussolini“ (song by DAF, a German band). The right wing liked to hear this song to rail at us foreigners. We refugees had fled to a xenophobic society. What kind of host country or exile is this?
 
 
 
Integration affects two parties and each party should get their rights and above all do their duties so that they meet in the middle. Not that we migrants demand maximum tolerance from the Germans and call ourselves an exception. Migrants must have the will to learn the language of the country, be open to an open society that has ethical foundations. Each person should keep their characteristics, but not political blinkers and hatred. Diversitiy should be preserved.
 
First and foremost, migrants need to adapt their political views here, so that we migrants coming from different countries that are enemies must get along here.
 
Sheep and wolves should be together.
 
(…) Peaceful coexistence.
 
(…) The practicing power, the executive, i.e. the police, must now see that even a
 
black African is German.
(…) As long as a German policeman agrees in a dispute with Germans, just because they are German and
therefore also right and the migrant is always wrong ...
As long as it is still bad and unequal with old and new refugees and there are no equal opportunities for all

migrants ...
 
As long as the Germans make a distinction between Christian and non-Christian migrants ... ..

As long as... As long as... As long as...
As long as this German integration theater is still rehearsing ...
I am for disintegration.


In front of the travel agency

my shadow asks me again
after a long time
what do you have in your hand?
I say, a ticket
do you want to travel home?
no, I‘m going back
I say
back? yes, returning
to my dusty earth and relatives
to stones and trees
to my wild playgrounds
to my field
to my huts
to the graves of my parents
to the satisfied inhabitants
in my streets
despite poverty
to my little town
despite hardship and misery
only there will life refresh me
with warmth from relatives
only there can I preserve myself
and only there am I an important part of my flock
only there can I leave my marks
despite tyrants, despite repression
the pain of exile
hurts more than the torture of the homeland
there, when I have a headache,
the whole tribe gathers and prays for me
yes, returning to the traces of my childhood
to the honest smile
I am here and pass away slowly
and become a number after the point
registered
here I cannot be like I am there
here I die in the gloomy loneliness
every day
here I am a machine
which only rests at the weekend
here I do not live as a human
here I´m hounded
here I remain merely a foreigner
everything I have here is not mine


not my children either
here is not my home
am a pile of forms
am a regular customer at the job centre
am a puppet that practices laws
here I am…

wait a minute, interrupts my shadow again
after so many tears
wait, you‘re wrong
which home?
It‘s not that way anymore
the picture you kept
was torn, has lost its color
there you have to sell your children
to get bread
there your girls will become militia
involuntarily draftet
in the name of gender equality
poverty and greed
are drilling into the bones
brothers mangle their own brothers
you still live in good times
that do not exist anymore
civilization attacked us there, too
yes, there killing is allowed in the name of
the leaders
in the name of liberation
there it is not like you think anymore
there everything is destroyed, including man,
by enemies who have no heart
there everything is allowed except to love each other
there has ...
it is enough for me!
I scream out of my tribulation
the ticket in my hand
has become shreds
shredded with anger and grief
they fall from my hand to the ground
the wind takes my last wish
with it
the shreds fly everywhere
like me
everywhere but not homeward






















New Degenerate Art canceled due to lockdown

Invitation
 

 
November 8-22 2020
 
Berzan Kejo
 
Drawings, Painting, Reliefs, Sculptures
 
Installations, Films, 3D games, 3D animation
 
Künstlerhaus Güterbahnhof Tor 40
 
Vernissage Sunday November 8th, 11.30 a.m.
 
 
Introduction: Dr. Arie Hartog
Music: Merxaz
New catalog: reading
 
Mon-Fri 3 pm-6pm
Sat / Sun 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
 
Beim Handelsmuseum 9
 
D - 28195 Bremen
 
 
with the kind support of the Waldemar Koch Foundation
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3D Spiel

Mit Unity 3D 2020
Für mein erstes 3D Spiel habe ich die Bestnote A in meinem Fernstudium zum Geprüften 3D Spiele-Entwickler bekommen. Das ist ein sehr guter Start. Beim Entwickeln des Spiels habe ich fast so viel gelernt wie in einem kompletten Studium. Konzeptionell nach Plan und mit einem starken Willen.



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