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Carnival of the Oppressed Feelings

28 oktober 2017 - 28 oktober 2017

Performative demonstration from the former prison Bijlmerbajes to Dam Square.

Join and help refugees be heard!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Start: 1 p.m, end around 4. p.m

Starting point: Centre for asylum seekers AZC Wenckebachweg 48, finish: Dam Square (about 5 km)

On Saturday, October 28, 2017 the Carnival of the Oppressed Feelings will fill the streets of Amsterdam. This performative march, initiated by Russian artist Gluklya and TAAK brings together refugees housed in the center for asylum seekers at the former prison Bijlmerbajes, artists and everyone who feels involved, in a grotesque carnival.

The Carnival of the Oppressed Feelings resulted from a series of workshops and meetings Gluklya had with refugees in her studio in Lola Lik, a creative hub in the former prison Bijlmerbajes, situated next to AZC Wenckebachweg. These sessions where aimed at trying to find new visual forms of expression for emotions which are difficult to convey because of language barriers. During the preparations for the festival, costumes, masks, music and objects were developed, expressing fear, vulnerability, loneliness and what it feels like to live in a former prison. With this carnival, we do not only want to make a powerful statement about welcoming refugees, but also give refugees a face and a voice in the public domain.


The march is all about meeting the unknown, something which is often related to facing fears. And what ritual is more appropriate for driving away our demons and monsters than a carnival? All applicable rules and conventions are suspended and everyone is both spectator and participant. The march pivots around five (poetic) political parties acting as metaphors for the ‘monsters’ refugees encounter during integration. Among the elaborately attired participants are: The Potato Eaters Party, The Monsters Party, The Language of Fragility Party, The Recycling Prison Party and The Spirits of History Party. By magnifying how we deal with vulnerability and trauma in society, Gluklya holds up a mirror to us all.

Route and program

The march starts at 1 p.m from AZC Wenckebachweg with a dance performance. Along the route it will stop at various venues staging theatrical and performative interventions. The march ends at the monument at Dam Square, where Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum will read the Manifesto of the Utopian Unemployment Union, a declaration jointly written by refugees and civil society organizations. Route and program will be published soon!

Join and help refugees be heard! Do you want to get dressed in one of the costumes that are made especially for the carnival, please mail to You are also more then welcome to dress in your own ‘demonstration outfit’. Wearing your normal outfit is fine too of course, but please bring stuff to make noise: pots, pans and spoons. You can sign up at the facebook event. For any questions:

About Gluklya

Russian artist Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya), now residing in Amsterdam, is a member of Chto Delat and co-founder of The Factory of Found Clothes (FFC). Since 2002 she has worked with refugees and other vulnerable groups and she has developed methods for jointly making conceptual clothing which communicate an emotional state. She is also founder of the Utopian Unemployment Union of Amsterdam, a collaboration of migrants, artists and institutes developing models for artistic production at the cutting edge of art, economics, pedagogy, social sciences and activism.

Utopian Unemployment Union was made possible through the support of Mondriaan Fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst. Thanks to: Tijdelijk Museum, AZC Wenckebachweg, CreaBea and all other participants in the 5-Day Program: Rutger Groot Wassink (chair Groen Links Amsterdam), Klaartje Freeke (Lawyer mediation at Freeke&Monster), Michel Youssef (Refugee Company), Merel Willemsen (Musee da Crise/ Commonfare), Khalid Jone (We Are Here), Marianne Koeman (psychologist), Nadia Bekkers (dancer and activist), Chris Keulemans (writer, moderator, connector and co-founder of OndertussenOnderweg), Samer Al-Kadri (founder of Pages Book Store), Veronique Achoui (founder of Chains), Yvonne Dubbers (TAAK), Tuncay Korkmaz (Murad) (Turkish Kurd), Katia Krupennikova (curator and art critic), Brigitte van der Sande (art historian and curator)