Challenges of creating art spaces in Azerbaijan, a case study on Salaam Cinema Baku which came into being with help of Stichting art.1 ini 2018. What is the status of the safe space now during the corona pandemic? Trans Europe Halles describes the position of Salaam Cinema in this in-depth article on Azerbaijan’s haven for alternative programming and safe space for free thinkers.
Salaam Cinema has founded a creative platform for movies, audiovisual and performing arts in an old Molokan prayer house building. The Salaam Cinema community has done impressive renovation and cleaning work in order to create spaces for film screenings, exhibitions, talks and workshops. It supports local filmmaking and gives the audience a chance to rediscover movies that have written Azerbaijani film history. Last year, when the owner threatened to demolish the building, a successful public campaign resulted in gaining official historical status for the building. Now, Salaam Cinema has prepared a professional design for the full reconstruction of the building. But the centre has been closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Salaam Cinema is about gender equality and supporting people from the LGBTQ community. We promote these themes through our programming and festivals, but also in our organization: it has to be a safe place that offers space and work to people from these communities. People feel safe, they are visible and outspoken. Gender is the main topic for the young community in our center. This creates a form of tolerance within our team, in the space itself, the programming and the atmosphere”. Leyli Gafarova, co-founder Salaam Cinema
Click here for more information on Salaam Cinema.