By: Billy Hydar Bjerregaard
“When creativity melds together with global issues, I believe you can bring the world together.”
– Virgil Abloh
If we are to compare with other places in the world, Sweden is a country of freedom of speech, tolerance and human rights. It’s a place, where everyone can feel him or -herself at home; where people have a chance to start a new life and follow their dreams. In general view, Sweden is like a beautiful painting, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain “dirty” spots. These dirty spots resemble the discrimination experience that a person can face, for example, mine at ICA by the staff
People pass their judgment on me because of my skin colour. Not only me, but other migrants face the same problem, of which by that they (racists) want us to feel rejected, to fall under the generalised group classifications. In that analogy, I am not one but all. But that is impossible, we are all our own person even as we belong to a group.
I am deeply sure, the lack of education, knowledge and awareness, are what produce negativity. On the other hand, racial, religious, gender misinformation can be provoked by media propaganda, hate, etc as we live the age of fake news propaganda.
In 2018, I got a chance to be part of the solution, not the problem and I grabbed it. I joined my friend and classmate in AfriNordic, a platform for fostering market & cultural integration within Sweden- which is achieved through events, workshops and a market platform.
The core idea and principle at the heart of our project are to show people how art and fashion can unite us and build bridges between nations and different cultures. There is diversity in our society, there are things that make us different and unique: we have various religions, cultural backgrounds, our own heritage and personal stories but those do not separate us. Instead, they should unite us and make us stronger.
This is what unites us – African and Nordic worlds (in this case). I strongly believe that our unity is in diversity, and by respect to our own traditions, discovering our own names, we can become a more open world.
We are a new generation of young leaders, who build peace and stop the hate. Who harness the power of love and togetherness and in art and fashion lies a powerful band that binds us all together. Art and fashion help us to present who we are – and to define our individualities in our own ways.
We are different, but that is what makes us stronger – we should learn from each other, be proud to share our experiences, develop our friendship through art and co-exist in this country by maintaining our own identities.
Our event – Africa Nordic Fashion and Cultural Expo 2019 is a great chance to show that the country and the world we are now living now has a lot of voices, faces, talents, potential and differences – but that this makes us unique, special. By embracing this, we help make our home an inclusive one.
I know that when misrepresentation in some platforms are intentional and want to makes us enemies, art is the true hope left for humanity, and voice justice collectively.
Read more about the inaugural Africa Nordic Fashion Expo here: https://www.anfce.com/