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City curator's speech

When you look at Trenčín from the Municipal Tower, you come to realise the diversity that can be found in such a small space: the castle, the churches, the synagogue, the ODA, the greenery, the Brezina, the hills lining the horizon, the advertisements, the banners and signs, the parasols of the terraces, the benches, the people. A diverse urban organism. But... is it alive, or is it rather spontaneous?

The function of public space specialist is still a novelty in our country, therefore I was pleased that Trenčín is the second city to introduce it. I had been working at the Nitra Gallery for seventeen years and the decision whether to apply for the competition was slow in coming, but I had a feeling for a long time that I needed to move on somewhere.

Apart from the gallery, I have worked on several projects with contemporary visual art, I try to bring it closer to people, for example through discussions on the radio. Besides art, I have always been interested in architecture, design and the issue of public space, which is unfortunately very neglected in Slovakia.

Although I am from Bratislava, I have a strong personal and family relationship with Trenčín. In my position as a city curator, it all suddenly came together and I am glad that I succeeded in the audition and have the opportunity to contribute to the cultivation of public space, which is after all a slightly bigger "playground" than a gallery.

I understand a curator not only as a person who cares (from the Latin origin of the word), but is also creative, connecting diverse elements, putting them into new contexts, explaining them to people.

It is not about promoting the vision of an individual, but about cooperating with people working in the fields of art, design, architecture, urban planning, politics, administration, heritage conservation, activists, and the city's residents and citizens. We should all have the opportunity to co-create the space we live in.

I would like to be a partner, a "moderator" of the public discussion about the visual aspect of the city for various entities in the city. It will be a challenge for me to highlight what is valuable and bring suggestions on how to make things better and more beautiful.

A city is a living organism influenced by many factors—natural conditions, politics, transport, economy, culture, tourism and especially the people who live there.

Perhaps for the first time in the history of Trenčín, culture will be one of the most important drivers of change—especially in relation to public space. From the point of view of a contemporary environmentally sustainable city, it should not provide a place for cars or industry, but for people.

The fact that Trenčín will be the European Capital of Culture in 2026 plays a key role in this. This will not just be about the year's programming, but about promoting a broad area of cultural and creative industries and improving the current and future quality of life in the city and making it more attractive to all visitors.

Trenčín is changing—also thanks to culture, so that the city can be closer to the people. I'm glad I can be a part of it.

Omar Mirza

City Curator of Trenčín

Photo: Júlia Gavačová



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