Croatia to NYC: The Art of Cultural Exchange

Abena Koomson and Kristina Leko Welcome to our blog. We are Abena Koomson and Kristina Leko and we have become collaborators through an amazing cultural exchange project. As part of the One Big City program of CEC Artslink, we were selected to participate in a three week residency this summer at The Kitchen.

One Big City pairs New York City artists with artists from overseas to collaborate on a project that involves the diasporic community represented by the overseas artist. Over the next three weeks, we will be interviewing members of the Croatian community here in New York and gathering tales and songs about Croatia, so many of which speak of a longing for home. In conjunction with videos of the interviews, we will gather a collective of New York based artists of many backgrounds and artistic genres to share their interpretations of these stories. On JULY 5th at 7pm, we will make our first full-length presentation at The Kitchen.

We hope  you will join us for this culminating event. Check here often as we discover the love of home through the eyes of our respective communities.


(tales & songs from croatia)

 Brooklyn based poet and performer Abena Koomson and Croatian visual artist and filmmaker Kristina Leko collaborate on a multimedia oral history project that shares stories and songs of the Croatian community in NYC.

In 2005, Leko’s previous film and photography project, entitled “Amerika” featured five elderly Croatian women living in Astoria, Queens. This summer, in collaboration with Koomson, through interviews, community gatherings, and performances, the narrative of these women and others in the Croatian community will be linked to a diverse collective of musicians, storytellers, dancers and art makers. The project will culminate in a presentation at New York’s legendary performance space, The Kitchen, and also feature events in Queens, where many Croatians currently reside.

CEZNJA: BORN LONGING (tales and songs from croatia) is part of One Big City, a series of collaborative residencies and events produced by CEC ArtsLink in partnership with leading cultural venues to engage New York City’s diaspora communities through international arts initiatives.  One Big City is funded by The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

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