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How I will change society: Marianna Parmatzia

Marianna Parmatzia is an art educator from Cyprus, who believes that art could be used as a medium for communication by creating a universal language that everybody can understand. As an Art teacher she decided to organize a workshop – which is called “What’s Your Story?” – encouraging participants to share their stories through artistic methods by taking part on a project-week she organizes. The idea of the project is to collect the participants artworks in the end of the workshop and exhibit them in public.

Marianna was selected for the project “European Youth at the frontlines of active citizenship: A Roadmap towards a collective South-North-East-West Momentum” organized by Volunteers Centre Skopje and supported by European Commission due to Erasmus+ European Youth Together programme.

How was the idea about the “What’s Your Story?“ – project conceived?

– It was conceived when I was still an art-student in Germany and I had an internship to finish, so I decided with my team to create our own creative workshop in a multicultural environment, where we were guiding the participants how to execute their ideas and be creative without having any artistic skills or even speak the same language. It was challenging for all.

What is your project about?

– It is basically about creating an intercultural “story-telling” exhibition with the participant’s results. The whole idea of the project was to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together, without language being a barrier. So, the project is about an intercultural communication exchange, where people feel free to express themselves in any way they want: through performing, sound, pictures, illustrations and many other media.

What is it like interacting with different cultures, people mentalities or backgrounds?

– Imagine having a palette full of colors and tones, where the combinations and the options are unlimited and by mixing them, new colors are created. The same with people; through their interaction, new ideas can materialize.

What made you decide to do this project?

– Living many years abroad, I realized the importance of people’s urge to communicate. I wanted to challenge myself as a future art teacher to inspire and motivate people to feel free expressing themselves through a different medium like art and have an open mind. I believe that art has the power to bring societies closer together.

What does art mean to you?

– Art for me is like an alternate medium to language; it is a communication tool that can be used to explain things that cannot be explained in words. Sometimes through art the messages can be sent and received much faster and easier than through verbal language.

What do you want to accomplish with this project?

– My main goal with this project is to give people the chance to show what they can do. I want to show people in my society the possibilities, which art can offer, as a medium for communication and expression and in parallel to send the message that it’s not necessary to be an art expert to be creative and productive; Everyone has the power and the right to express themselves in any way.

What is the message you want to share?

– Everyone has a voice and the right to be heard; Everyone can be creative, and language is not a barrier to expression. There is always a way to communicate.

Can you imagine the “What’s your Story” project growing?

– Yes. From the beginning the idea was to establish an intercultural exhibition that’s happening from people’s story-telling or ideas-exchange in a limited time, once a year. This exhibition is the result of what people can do by interacting with different cultures or mentalities. I can imagine through these workshops bringing societies together from all over the world.

Considering the recent global events, do you think that this project would be affected?

– I believe that the only limit is the physical interaction. Art can be translated through any other medium. As I said I believe that art’s options to apply an idea are unlimited. There are still many alternative solutions to interact or attract people, even virtually through online platforms.

Marianna Parmatzia