Theartof Politics; the Political Injustices in Our Country Can Shape the Way We Are Brought Up. in Our Series of Regular Profiles on the Artes Mundi 4 Shortlisted Artists, Chief Executive Tessa Jackson Discusses the Work of Two Candidates from Eastern Adrian Paci, Top, and Ergin Iavusoglu, above Europe

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Byline: Tessa Jackson

WE have just passed the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. An extraordinary event that seemed to embody the strength of the human spirit over the controlling might of a rigid political ideology and system.

The revolutions of 1989 have now become known as the collapse of Communism.

Beginning in Poland, various fundamental changes to organisational systems and politics in Eastern Europe took place in Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. Successive governments were overthrown, some more peacefully than others.

Sitting in the UK we have listened to the news and observed these changes. Some have had greater impact closer to home, some remain remote.

For my part I've tried to keep up to date with the bigger picture but realise that without knowing key elements of European history, it's difficult to understand new allegiances or areas of continuing and fundamental conflict.

However history and events become real when you get to know individuals who have been directly affected by one or other of these significant events.

My role with Artes Mundi has, in recent months, provided an extraordinary framework for looking at this period of social upheaval.

This time the two experienced selectors invited to choose artists for the shortlist were Viktor Misiano from Russia and Levent Ialikoglu from Turkey.

Following a period of research, and after reviewing more than 500 nominations from more than 60 countries, they arrived at a list of eight names.

Interestingly, where the selected artists came from had more in common than was at first acknowledged.

The artists are chosen in relation to very simple criteria - artists who have gained recognition in their own country or part of the globe and are still emerging internationally, and artists who discuss the human condition in their work.

During the eight years Artes Mundi has been running, we have worked closely with artists from almost 30 countries and with every continent except Antarctica.

But this time many have lived through and been directly affected by the fall of communism.

Adrian Paci and Ergin Iavusoglu have personal stories that are extraordinary; national politics have changed their lives irreversibly and their experiences continue to provide a potent backdrop to their artwork.

Paci is Albanian who was awarded a scholarship to study in Italy. Political uncertainty, economic crisis and, at a certain point, total anarchy meant that he has never returned to Albania to live and is now bringing up his family in Milan. …