A collection of stories about embraces: as an expression of close encounters, but also as a symbol of reconciliation, of overcoming opposites. The stories are told by artists from all parts of the world.
Arnold Zable, Melbourne A story of hugs and prisons by Arnold Zable
Author and human rights activist Arnold Zable tells the story of Farhad, an artist who fled from Kurdistan to Australia seven years ago. There, the freedom that he was searching for was also denied to him. But Farhad refuses to be intimidated. Then, one day...
A hand that embraces from behind. A foot that embraces from behind. A second body in the clothes. Images of embracing, growing together, merging, encircling - building intensity without words.
Chao Liu, Berlin How come … Hugging is part of me?
The artist Chao Liu talks about his mother, who - growing up in Mao's China of the Cultural Revolution – was not accustomed to hugging someone. Yet, for Chao Liu this gesture is an essential part of himself. What happened when he and his mother hugged for the first time?
Maria Zervos, Athens The tent
The sight of a colourful tent village is accompanied by thoughts about an epidemic of a different kind: nostalgia, based on a sense of loss. A loss that goes beyond personal experience. An epidemic that is less and less curable.
Inger-Mari Aikio, Buolbmatjávri The Polar Night Embrace
In this poem by the Sami poet Inger-Mari Aikio, someone talks – in the "darkest of the dark" – to the polar night, in which lives go out like candles. The polar night in which eyes can embrace...
Isabel Schayani, Cologne A type of embrace that I can't get out of my head
Only two days after the devastating fire the German-Iranian TV journalist Isabel Schayani visited, together with a camera crew, the Moria refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Europe. There, they witnessed a family's desperate attempt to get help for their seriously injured mother and experienced a brief moment of closeness.
Radmila Petrović, Belgrad I am sending you all a big hug from Serbia!
“I always dreamed that you would approach me” / “come and hug me so that I am nine years old again” – Radmila Petrović reads two poems that talk about encounters and embraces.
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Genua I have never seen myself so alone
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer talks about writing a Corona Chronicle. He never thought that one day the world would be reduced to three words: Faith, Love and Hope. On a walk through the deserted city he enters a church and contemplates a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Mamoun Aljak, Khartum and Omdurman Coronic
A man finds himself in a hospital bed, surrounded by his friends and family. He has attempted suicide, suffering from depression. His friend Mohammed stands by his side, helps him to get therapy, in which the narrator gets to know his environment, goes outside and meets new people. Slowly, the therapy begins to have positive effects. That's when the Corona epidemic starts. The depression spreads over the whole city. Is there no more hope?
Erik Fosnes Hansen and Erika Fatland, Oslo Are you hungry?
All over Rome Mario was known for his simple dishes which had an airy and rich taste at the same time. Erika Fatland and Erik Fosnes Hansen, a married couple, discovered Mario's restaurant, dined there often and led many intimate conversations with Mario, learning about his difficult fate. One evening they witnessed an almost poetic encounter.
Natacha Muziramakenga, Kigali Moves that save
A meeting full of intimacy. Full of devotion. A crossing of boundaries. A dance in the light of "the fatality that characterises the time in which we live".
Anita Nair, Bangalore Encounter with the smuggler
Since her childhood, her father has told her about his travels by train - on one of the shortest railway lines in India. But the narrator never manages to take the train herself. Until she finally gets the assignment of a travel journal - and a trip full of surprises begins, which ends with the encounter with a criminal out of necessity. Should the narrator report him?
Etgar Keret, Tel Aviv A mexican phenomenen?
On his first reading tour in Mexico, Etgar Keret was approached in Spanish by a tall man with a moustache at a book signing. Keret thought the man wanted a selfie with him. But instead of taking a photo, the stranger gave Keret a hearty hug. This episode was repeated several times until Keret found out what his readers had really said to him.
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Abuja So far away from home
A Nigerian man on the New York subway, in an intense soliloquy. Full of words familiar to his observer. Laughing, shaking his head, he says, "That's the way the world works."
The other passengers look away, thinking he's one of the many crazies on the subway. So he turns to his observer.
Teardrops, Nairobi Where are you?
The Spoken Word Poet Teardrops tells the story of the acquaintance with a woman he fell in love with. He saved money to visit her in Mombasa, but she did not show up for days. At the decisive moment, she sent him a message.
Pao-Chang Tsai, Taipei Fresh mint for a future Mojito
When Pao-Chang Tsai visits friends in Thessaloniki in the summer of 2009, he is overwhelmed by their hospitality and joy of life. He himself had been brought up by his father to be restrained, to be absolutely humble. Never to owe anyone a favour.
However, the mother of his hostess surprised him with a very special gesture.