Counterpoint: Narrating Migration from the Periphery as Centre

Posted by Admin on 19 March 2023


Counterpoint: Narrating Migration from the Periphery as Centre is a new project that brings together four festivals and other partner organisations to explore the theme of migration through collaboration with the lead artists, Poland-based Armenian poet and artist Tatev Chakhian, Polish poet and translator Zofia Bałdyga who lives in Prague, and the Welsh poet and novelist Gareth Evans-Jones.

The three poets been meeting to develop new work and translations in digital collaboration. Tatev will do an in-person residency in Malta in conjunction with the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, and showcase the work produced during the project there and in the other festivals, the Thessalian Poetry Festival and Poetry Day Festival in Prague. Her participation in the partner festival in Wales will be digital.

Tatev Chakhian is a Poland-based Armenian poet, translator and visual artist, born in 1992 in Yerevan. She graduated from the Faculty of Cultural Anthropology at Yerevan State University, and holds a degree in International Relations and Border Studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan where she currently lives. After several years of collaborative poetry projects, she published her first volume of poetry titled unIDentical is an “unofficial document” which grants the reader a passage from the poet’s personal reality to the social one allowing them to wander in and between the spaces. The book was nominated for the 2018 European Poet of Freedom – the 5th edition of the Literary Award of the City of Gdansk – was published in Polish. Tatev collaborates with urban artists, filmmakers and musicians, and her paper collages have been exhibited in Armenia, Poland and Belgium, and translates and promotes Polish poetry, Iranian contemporary poetry, as well as translating from English and Russian. She is the co-editor of platform of translated Iranian literature and  Arteria literary magazine in Armenia. Find out more on her official website.

Zofia Bałdyga (1987, Warsaw) is a Prague based poet and translator. She has published four collections of poetry, Passe-partout (2006), Współgłoski (2010), Kto kupi tak małe kraje (2017) and Klimat kontynentalny (2021). Her first collection written in Czech will be published in late 2023. She holds MA from Southern and Western Slavonic Studies at the University of Warsaw and is currently enrolled in social and pastoral work BA study program at the Faculty of Evangelical Theology, Charles University. She writes in Polish and Czech. She translates contemporary Czech and Slovak poetry into Polish (Milan Děžinský, Kamil Bouška, Jana Bodnárová, Marie Iljašenko, Jan Škrob, anthologies of Slovak and Czech female poets Sąsiadki [Neighbors]). In 2021 she was awarded the Literatura na Świecie prize in the category for emerging translators. Bałdyga also works as volunteer with refugees.

Gareth Evans-Jones is from the island of Anglesey in north Wales and is a lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at Bangor University, as well as a writer of prose, poetry and drama. In 2018, he published his first novel, Eira Llwyd (Gwasg y Bwthyn), which follows the stories of three Jews during the Holocaust. Since then, he has published a volume of photographs and poetic literature, Cylchu Cymru  (Y Lolfa), edited a volume of micro fiction, Can Curiad  (Gwasg y Bwthyn), and this summer, his second novel, Y Cylch (Gwasg y Bwthyn), will be published. This July also sees the publication of the first anthology of LGBTQ+ literature in the Welsh language, Curiadau (Barddas), which he edited, and in 2024, his first volume of poetry will also be published by the same press. He has won awards for his creative work including the National Eisteddfod Drama Medal in 2019 and 2021, and the 2017 New Writer Scholarship from Literature Wales. He has also collaborated with various organisations and companies to create artistic work, including: Frân Wen theatre company (2021/22) to script a show that travelled through Wales in spring 2022, Ynys Alys. He has just finished collaborating with Indian artists on a trilingual digital production (Welsh, Ladakhi and English), which creates a dialogue between Welsh and Indian folk tales (Wales Arts Reviw and Meta Arts). He is currently collaborating with composer, Alexander Campkin,  and charities focusing on people with disabilities, to  produce a libretto for a short opera to be performed in April 2024.

The project is lead by our long-term partner, the  Maltese cultural organisation Inizjamed and their Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, and involves the Poetry Day Festival and Culture Reset in Prague, Thraka and their Thessalian Poetry Festival in Larissa, and Literature Across Frontiers and the Caernarfon-based Gwyl Arall / Another Festival. The project is co-financed by the European Festivals Fund for Emerging Artists and aims at internationalising the careers of emerging artists through cooperation between festivals.

Featured image: “Wish”, collage by Tatev Chakhian