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CAN for BALKANS – 2022 Comics Competition

The CAN for BALKANS – Comics Alliance Networking for Balkans project is hosting a comics competition and calling for applications for 2022.

The project converges History, Art and Propaganda, to create a comics legacy of the History and Art without Propaganda. The resulting works portfolio will stand for an intercultural “dialogue” on Balkan history and will constitute the basis for both the exhibition and the catalogue design.

The new, original and historically themed comic strip concept should be about what brings together the Balkan world and not about what divides it, about positive examples in the shared history, about unity in diversity. The comic strips should be genuine reconciliatory artistical messages meant for peace and trust consolidation, for tolerance and respect. This is why the organizers invite you, dear artists, to contradict the negative clichés as well as the cultural and social stereotypes on and from the Balkan world.

The project CAN for BALKANS says “CAN” when it comes to the creation of a cross-border cultural network to facilitate cooperation among history comic strip artists and specialists all over the Western Balkans and the European Union, in the spirit of the European Europe values.

Submitted works must be based on the theme “The Balkans throughout history“, presented in an A3 format – (copy) board, minimum resolution: 300 dpi to allow printing on A2 format.

Details about the theme are available on the official website:

In the Balkan area history comic strips have either a past marked by nationalist speeches and communist propaganda or they just simply do not have a past (Albania’s case). Unfortunately, in many cases, the errors of the past are still found in the present day Balkan comic strips. At the same time the regional artistic market of the history comic strips is deficient and divided.

The cultural consortium made of partners from Albania, Belgium, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia wishes to change this perspective through:

  • the organizing of an international call addressed to the artistic environment which creates a working base (digital archive and history studies) for the legacy of the history comic strips. This call encourages a creative exploration of history by way of the comic strip artists, for the purpose to generate new works. These works are original and unconventional contributions to the interpretation of European history in general and Balkan history in particular, with impact in cultural areas with a predominating cultural legacy showcasing accents of incompatible values versus those of the European Union.
  • the promotion of the history comic strips by means of cultural activities like: an exhibition, a research project, an online platform and public debates on the clichés as well as on the cultural and social stereotypes from the Balkan area.

The project targets not only professional groups (artists, specialists, organizations) or comic strips enthusiasts, but also wider audiences and local communities hosting the project. Furthermore, an important objective of the project is the increase of the audience for the comic strip industry by allowing free access for the large public to attractive cultural events (the touring of the project exhibition in the partner countries), as well as to the online environment (digital platform).

A jury consisting of 5 comic strip experts, will select the works presented in the itinerant exhibition, published on the online platform and in the project catalogue. The number of the works selected out of the total received during the call is not limited. The same jury will appoint 9 winning comic strips (4 awards and 5 mention awards). The designated artists will receive money prizes and will have the possibility to present their works during the festivals and events proposed by the project partners during October 2022 – March 2023.

The exhibition will open in Brasov, on the 14th of October 2022, during the International History Comics Festival 2022. It will then be toured during November 2022 – March 2023 in Tirana (Albania), Bruxelles (Belgium), Leskovac (Serbia) and Veles (North Macedonia).

Please find further details on the official website.