| Degenerated: the red line on name and origin | - |Degenerated arts 2018| Berzan Kejo |

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preface:
Degenerate art - I will renew this theme. I do not do it as a provocation or polemic as one or the other might think. 
I do not call the subject because I want to hurt the others, but to heal my wounds.
In Germany terms such as concentration camps, gas chamber or degenerate art are monopolized only on Nazi Germany.
I break this monopoly with my topic. I condemn it as it used to be. But for me it is very important to realize that it is the same today.
 

Degenerated arts 2018

I am Berzan Kejo.
In Syria I was banned as an artist who did not belong to the Baath Party and therefore could not exhibit anywhere in public galleries and exhibition halls.
The Baath Party wanted me as their mouthpiece, so I could have slipped through as an artist to success.
And in democratic Germany?
In Germany, I have to adapt to the prevailing themes or fashion or I and my art have to stay outside.

This concerns me: flight and its consequences.
It's my life. Thirtythree years ago I went into exile, seeking protection for life and limb and for my art.
My subjects are man, justice and human suffering, social inequality, isolation and exclusion.
Since March 2011, the Syrian revolution has been pushing me onwards. The deep flow of my emotions has become a torrent.

My art is my spiritual bread, my works are mirrors of my ego.
My art is also my resistance. Resistance against  new and old racism, against subtle exclusion.
I said that more than 30 years ago and today  I accentuate it even more.

Democracy means protection of diversity, and every artist has his or her own priorities and themes.
I am not a mouthpiece for anyone, neither for a party, nor for a religion, nor for any other groups, but only for humanity and justice.
But no matter how I call myself here,
whether I am secular or not,
I am labeled Kurd, Middle Eastern, Syrian, Muslim, and sleeper, and so I am treated as well.
Even in Germany, I have to belong to a party or a religion or sect in order to even have a place in art and culture.

In a few months I have received many cancellations from gallerists, museums and art institutions in Germany.
Among the hundreds of cancellations were three acceptances. These three were not Germans, but foreigners.
When I received the cancellations, I visited the pages of these cancellers. I saw unwashed underpants and rubber penis.

Who judges what art is?
The money and rulers whose strategy suits one and the other does not? Does it have to do with topics? In Germany,
the issue of flight and its consequences in connection with Syria, as I see it, is a taboo?
Public opinion is determined by the majority media. Other views, like mine and many like me, are swept under the table.

Degenerated: thinking, painting or writing differently.
Degenerated, say my many cancellations.
Degenerated because the artist himself and his works are an intruder.
Degenerated: Any art that does not participate in the mainstream.
Degenerated: the red line on name and origin.
Degenerated: the child in the fairy tale of the Emperor with the new clothes.
Degenerated because the artist is too versatile.

I know very well that art can be a powerful tool, a noble way of changing the human minds, the consciousness.
Art can change it, renew it and bring it to awakening.

Because art is a delicate-looking impulse, it must not fall into the wrong hands, for the arts have ignited and fueled all revolutions.
I also know that not everyone can have this means or instrument, including me.
There is no interest in promoting any foreign and serious issues in this industry.
Disinterest is the highest form of censorship.
The elite does not allow anyone to belong to them except those who propagandize for them.
Or who have specialized in kitchen art or bathroom art or ...
Are the elite afraid of the uncontrolled message of my arts?

Migration is the search for home, a place where one is "adopted". Where to be taken.
Migration is not a one-way street. Integration is two steps.
Everyone takes a step to come together in the middle.
As long as migrants are viewed as a burden and chaos, as perpetrators of violence and invaders, and all lumped together,
and are not seen as a cultural enrichment of the "host country" horizons, all formal integrative efforts will be left ineffective.

For more than 30 years, I have been asking myself every day: When will I be treated like an equal person, artist and author?
As long as a foreigner sells kebabs or works as a street sweeper in Germany, everything fits into the picture.
But woe, we knock on doors that are not meant for us.
No migrant expects flying roasted pigeons from heaven in the host country.
Being a stranger is a test that not everyone passes.
How can an artist become known if he is subtly blocked from the possibility of exhibitions?

Degenerate: when the minority prevails over the majority.
Degenerate: when democracy becomes a clean dictatorship.
In Syria, the tyrant was rough, and it was understandable that my art and I as a stateless person are declared degenerate. In my exhibitions in Germany, I meet many visitors, who receive my works with enthusiasm and feel touched in the heart.
That's when I realize the huge difference between the people who are interested in art and the lobbyists of the prevailing artistic taste.

In Syria, all this is controlled by a family and in Germany it is dominated by a merciless upper class.

I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

Art is not just the beautiful side for me, art is also gray, dark and attacking.
Art is for me the spirit of change.
And also the formulation of justice and equal rights.

But do not forget:
Degenerate creates more resistance, strength, courage and creativity to fight.
30 years struggle for freedom and justice for man and the arts.

Degeneracy is racial hatred, discrimination
Degeneracy is the highest level of fundamentalism
Degeneracy is like a concentration camp with no visible barbed wire and lethal gas
Degeneracy is when the perpetrators play the role of the victim
Degeneracy is someone pulling out of his skin.
Degeneracy is fascism.

And because I'm very sure that I'm not alone and that there are still a lot of creators with my perspective who have had these experiences, I want to start global communication about modern degenerate art and its new consequences.
This kind of call or the thematization of degenerated arts is my only letter to introduce myself and my arts well and it does not come out of the blue, but from deep experiences that have had a profound effect on me and my art, like a brand for eternity.

After all, I have fought a lot with many accomplices of foreign cultural workers during these years, for equality and tolerance in a petrified German society.
In a society that sees strangers only as criminals.
And I'm proud of that.

All this in Germany in the supposed land of poets and thinkers.

I'm like the fire: the more you blow in, the harder I get.
I'm not looking for enemies, but for friends, on an equal status.
I'm a fertile tree looking for its place in the plantation.

"Whoever fights can lose, but whoever does not fight has already lost."





















I don‘t like it, veto!

No refugee leaves his home voluntarily.
After more than 30 years living in exile, in Germany:
The Germans say, "We are in a democratic country."
I answer: "I do not feel this democracy."
What I feel is:
More than 30 years of dissatisfaction, exclusion, discrimination, being a stranger, no one.
I wrapped myself in silence for more than 30 years. That does not mean that I said yes to everything and found everything good.
The waiting that one day the stone will soften and that I can feel this democracy.
And it does not just pretend.
Waiting for one day to change everything has reached its limit. The pain too.

I was punished for four years without having committed any crime.

I am now renewing the degenerate art. I know that many Germans will take offense at that.
Some will say:
"He's crazy, that can not be, he's lying, there's no such thing in our democratic Germany, he hates us, that's a prejudice, why is he still here?"  
I answer, "Escape is not as easy as going from one house to another. Ask me."

My asylum camp was like a concentration camp for me, a modern concentration camp. In it I have lost four precious years of my life.
There was curfew, and a bunch of bans. That was in the Germany from 1986 till 1990 , it was a forbidden country for us, only survival was allowed.
Now the new concentration camps are called Transitlager and Ankerzentrum.
Gas chamber today means when the oxygen is blocked or stopped for a human.
Oxygen for me and many others means the recognition, equal rights and opportunity for development.

The big problem of Germans is the German constitution, which is written for highly sensitive people, and certainly not for the current Germans. The German constitution is far from the level of general German thought and action.
I admit there is a very small class in Germany, which looks outside their plates and wants to see what is going on.
But they are too little to make any change here in the country.

Everything I describe relates to me and is in my view. As a Kurd, Syrian, foreigner and artist I am stuck in a land controlled by xenophobia like Germany.
I would like to say the opposite of a country like Germany, where I spent more than half of my life.
But I can no longer lie to myself, especially when it comes to me, to be my life, my dignity, my humanity and artist.
Democracy means talking and listening. I have listened to Germany and the Germans for over 30 years in vain.
Now I come to speak.














Degenerated: the red line on name and origin. Degenerated arts 2018 Berzan Kejo: The aesthetics in art is a secondary matter. Degenerate because the artist himself and his works are an intruder.
Degenerate: when the minority prevails over the majority. Berzan Kejo:  The biting art.  Not everyone can become an artist . Degenerate, say my many cancellations.

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