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France-Atlanta brings “French Connection” to ELEVATE public art festival

September 23,2016

This year’s ELEVATE public art festival will feature work by some Atlanta’s most interesting and thought-provoking artists. Adding international flavor to the festival, France-Atlanta is partnering with the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to bring in some special guests. French choreographer and dancer Noé Soulier will perform with his troupe on Saturday, October 15 at 5 pm. Throughout the festival there will an exhibition entitled “The Art of Democracy” which will include work by Cartooning for Peace cartoonists Jean “Plantu” Plantureux and Michel Kichka, along with Atlanta’s Mike Luckovich. The festival will take place primarily on Broad Street, in Atlanta’s emerging cultural district downtown, from October 13-21. It is free and open to the public.

“We value our close relationship with the French Consulate in Atlanta and appreciate their ongoing efforts to connect our city with some of today’s most vibrant French artists and innovators,” says Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We are delighted to share the talents of these extraordinary French artists during ELEVATE.”

“France-Atlanta and ELEVATE have enjoyed a long relationship of highlighting French artists, particularly from Atlanta’s sister city, Toulouse, in downtown Atlanta since 2012. This partnership is an excellent opportunity to further strengthen this 40-year relationship and to showcase some of the best talent that France has to offer,” states Alexandre Durand, Cultural Attaché at the French Consulate. “We are excited to bring choreographer and dancer Noé Soulier and Cartooning for Peace to Atlanta this year. Both events are sure to inspire people to think about art and life in new ways.”

At 29, dancer and choreographer Noé Soulier is considered one of today’s most innovative contemporary artists. Born in Paris in 1987, he earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the Sorbonne and studied at the Paris Conservatoire, the National Ballet School of Canada, and PARTS in Brussels. As an artist, Soulier explores people’s perception and interpretation of gestures through choreography, installations, theoretical work and performances. In Signe blanc (2012) and Mouvement sur Mouvement (2013) he created a time lag between speech and gesture in order to examine their interaction in the development of understanding. In Petites perceptions (2010) and Corps de ballet (2014) he explored the complex relationship between intent, action and meaning through body language and speech. In the fall of 2014 he performed Movement Materials for the inauguration of the Fondation Vuitton in Paris, and in 2015 he showcased Removing throughout Europe (France, Germany, Finland, Poland, the UK, Austria).

Soulier is an associate artist with the Centre National de la Danse in Paris, sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture. Recently he was appointed Artistic Director of the Centre National de la Chorégraphie in Toulouse, France. He is coming to Atlanta for a much-anticipated US debut with a special version of his latest performance: Removing. The troupe will consist of: Lucas Bassereau, Anna Massoni, Nans Pierson and Soulier. In this piece, Soulier seeks to explore actions motivated by a practical purpose such as hitting, avoiding or reaching. Unlike movements determined geometrically or mechanically, dancers share a vocabulary of gestures with the audience.

Cartooning for Peace was founded in 2006 and is an international network of more than 140 dedicated press cartoonists from around the world who use humor as a universal language to promote freedom, understanding and mutual respect between people of different cultures and religions. In the midst of various key political elections around the globe, growing chasms between different communities in our society, or global threats that breed fear, political cartoons create a valuable space for dialogue, reflection, and tolerance. By their very nature of satire and irony, press cartoons evoke many questions: in the name of freedom of expression, shall we tolerate anything and everything? Is it possible to laugh about everything, with everyone? How can we combine freedom, responsibility and tolerance?

Jean “Plantu” Plantureux published his first cartoon about the Vietnam War in Le Monde in 1972. Since 1985 his drawings have been published regularly, and today there are more than 60 books of his press cartoons (Le Monde editions, Le Seuil). In 2006 Plantu and former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan organized a symposium in New York, and there they formed Cartooning for Peace.

Mike Luckovich published his first drawing in 1984 in The Greenville News, then moved later that year to the New Orleans Times Picayune. Since 1989 he’s been an editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work has been published in Newsweek and The New York Times. He is the 2005 winner of the Reuben, the National Cartoonists Society’s top award, and is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes.

Michel Kichka is one of the most famous Israeli caricaturists. He was born in 1954 in Belgium and moved to Israel where he studied graphics from 1974 to 1978. Since then, he has worked as an illustrator, a comic book artist and a cartoonist. He currently works as an editorial cartoonist for Israeli TV channels (Channel 2, Channel 1, i24news) and French TV (TV5Monde), and frequently draws for Courrier International and Regards (Belgium). He has been a teacher at the Beaux-Arts of Jerusalem since 1982.

Sponsors for ELEVATE are Son & Sons, MailChimp, Living Walls, Fulton County Arts & Culture, Standard Press, Peachtree Tents & Events, LowCountry Catering, Crystal Springs, LAZ Parking and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Media Partners include: Creative Loafing and Scoutmob.

Created in 2010 by the French Consulate General and the Georgia Institute of Technology, “France-Atlanta: Together towards Innovation” is a series of events centered on innovation and designed to foster cooperation between France and the U.S. Southeast in the scientific, business, cultural, and humanitarian domains. It is presented under the high auspices of the Ambassador of France to the United States, the Governor of Georgia, and the Mayor of Atlanta, with the support of all of the French and French-American associations in Atlanta. The 7th France-Atlanta will take place October 12-21.

The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs vision is to enhance the quality of life through arts and culture, and to contribute positively to the social and economic health of Atlanta and the region. Their mission is to promote rich, diverse and educational cultural experiences; nurture artists and arts organizations; unify Atlanta’s cultural community; preserve and protect the city’s cultural heritage; and expand Atlanta’s international reputation as a cultural destination. ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit: http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?programs=elevate