| Harstad, Norway |
Today peace singer, activist and first guest artist in Safe Haven Harstad was thanked off as the very first city of refuge guest artist by the Harstad City Council.
Abazar Hamid arrived with his family in December 2014 as ICORN and Safemuse guest artist hosted by the City Harstad in close cooperation with Culture Troms/ Troms County Council - and also with support from Norwegian PEN. The Sudanese peace singer arrived from a six year exile in Kairo after he had to flee Sudan with his family.
Abazar have had great focus on music as a tool for integration and cross cultural dialogue in his work both locally and in the region during his stay in Harstad, and not the least in his many engagements internationally. This uniqe and powerful engagement was also emphasized by Maria Serafia Fjellstad, Deputy Mayor of Harstad, giving her speach of thanks from the City Council to Abazar Hamid.
Abazar has decided to stay on in Harstad with the family. Here he will continue his work as musician and activist. And there is no shortage of ideas and projects to engage in for the time to come.
A NEW CONTACT FORUM
The City of Harstad and partner Culture Troms/ Troms County Council have the ambition to keep up and develop the scheeme of Safe Music Haven Harstad. Second guest artist is already in place since 10 months, Afghan Hazara musician Hamid Sakhizada. And the ambition is to welcome a new musical artist every second year. In addition it is the ambition to create an environment for the musicians so they stay on in the city after the two year hosting program is over.
To create a best possible environment for this the City of Harstad, Culture Troms, Norwegian PEN and SafeMUSE today established the Harstad Safe Music Haven Contact Forum. An ongoing initiative with the main purpos of developing a best possible professional environment for the former guest artists in relation to artistic development, networking, project development, business support and job opertunities - from day one after the hosting period is terminated. (ICORN was not present, but will be invited to join as well.)