LebensBILD. bioGrafische Begegnungen

An intercultural project with 21 Dresden artists and many participants with and without a migration background
Begegnungscafé – Putjatinhaus © E. Renneberg
© N. Zandi
Atelierworkshop – Antje Dennewitz © A. Dennewitz
Begegnungscafé – Putjatinhaus © E. Renneberg
Begegnungscafé – Volkshochschule © E. Pagel
Atelierworkshop – Anja Maria Eisen © N. Zandi
Atelierworkshop – Annij Zielke © E. Pagel
Atelierworkshop – Yini Tao © V. Böll
Begegnungscafé – SPIKE © E. Pagel
Begegnungscafé – SPIKE © E. Pagel
Atelierworkshop – Elena Pagel © V. Böll

About the project · Artists · Events · Impressions · Contact

An intercultural project with 21 Dresden artists and many participants with and without a migration background

About the project

“Tell me a childhood prank” or “What was your first love?” – biographical experiences were the focus of the encounters. Through their art, artists and illustrators encouraged participants to actively remember and illustrate these life moments. In sharing life stories, commonalities were discovered and social cohesion was promoted. The artistic approach to the diverse lives and experiences of people in Dresden took place in creative and interactive events:

In atelier workshops, the artists/illustrators presented their own biography and their “path to becoming an artist”. Afterwards, the participants were able to get to know the personal style of the artist/illustrator and implement it in their own illustrations.

In monthly meeting cafés, the artists/illustrators invited people to talk about the meaning of free art. This was done through topics – based on true stories – such as raising children, first love, women’s rights, and patriarchy. The lively discussions showed how talking about empowering, painful or wonderful experiences opens people up. The biographical experiences shared also highlighted a number of commonalities among people in Dresden, regardless of their background.

In addition, our participants had the opportunity to creatively illustrate moments from their lives in monthly biography workshops and create their own pictures, sketches or comic sequences. The artists/illustrators taught the basics of comic drawing and the method of storytelling, among other things. Storytelling and listening were so intense that the two workshop hours often felt far too short.

The interactive exchange between artists/illustrators and individual participants was further intensified in tandem sessions: One artist/illustrator and one participant shared a special experience, and the artists/illustrators immortalized these biographical moments in comic-like illustrations. Four participants contributed their own images.

LebensBILD took place in many districts of Dresden: Altstadt, Johannstadt, Neustadt, Kleinzschachwitz, Striesen, Gorbitz, Prohlis, Pieschen, Friedrichstadt. The participants got to know and appreciate Dresden and several institutions of the cooperation partners, which accompany people in different phases of life. This was another way in which the project strengthened social cohesion in Dresden.

LebensBILD. BioGrafische Begegnungen illustrates the immense potential of art: art opens people’s hearts and gets them talking. The two artistic directors Elena Pagel and Nazanin Zandi already gained this experience in their comic courses “Wandelsterne” (2018-2019). Together with ethnologist Dr. Verena Böll, they initiated the project LebensBILD.


Atelier workshops

In her own studio, an artist/illustrator shows her working technique and artworks, tells her biography “My path to becoming an artist” and guides the participants to try things out on their own.
The atelier workshops are open to women of all ages and backgrounds.

24.06.2020 | 16:00 Atelierworkshop – Susanne Schrader
06.07.2020 | 19:00 Atelierworkshop – Liane Hoder
10.07.2020 | 11:00 Atelierworkshop – Annette von Bodecker
18.07.2020 | 10:00 Atelierworkshop – Anja Maria Eisen
25.07.2020 | 14:00 Atelierworkshop – Yini Tao
04.08.2020 | 10:00 Atelierworkshop – Johanna Failer
19.08.2020 | 14:00 Atelierworkshop – Antje Dennewitz
20.08.2020 | 16:00 Atelierworkshop – Elena Pagel
09.09.2020 | 14:00 Atelierworkshop – Xenia Gorodnia
12.09.2020 | 14:00 Atelierworkshop – Nazanin Zandi

Biography workshops

Here the artists, the participants of LebensBILD and other guests listen to each other. A special moment in life – whether a child’s prank, first love, experience of fear or everyday life – is visualized under professional guidance.

14.07.2020 | 10:00 Biografieworkshop im Johannstädter Kulturtreff
08.08.2020 | 14:00 Biografieworkshop im Putjatinhaus
14.09.2020 | 15:00 Biografieworkshop in der VHS
07.10.2020 | 16:00 Biografieworkshop im EMMERS
03.11.2020 | 15:00 Biografieworkshop im SPIKE Leider abgesagt
02.12.2020 | 10:00 Biografieworkshop mit MEDEA im Omse e.V. Leider abgesagt

Tandem sessions

An artist/illustrator and a participant exchange ideas about their lives, talk about special biographical moments and implement them graphically. The meetings were agreed between the participants and the artists / illustrators.

Meeting cafés

Each meeting takes place in a different district in Dresden. Our cooperation partners open their rooms. Artists and guests discuss different topics over coffee and cake and exchange their perspectives and experiences.

14.07.2020 | 14:00 Begegnungscafé im Johannstädter Kulturtreff
08.08.2020 | 10:00 Begegnungscafé im Putjatinhaus
12.08.2020 | 15:00 Begegnungscafé im EMMERS
27.08.2020 | 13:00 Begegnungscafé im SPIKE
23.09.2020 | 10:00 Begegnungscafé bei MEDEA International
29.09.2020 | 15:30 Begegnungscafé in der VHS
16.10.2020 | 14:00 Begegnungscafé im Frauenstadtarchiv
26.11.2020 | 16:00 Begegnungscafé im Café Halva Leider abgesagt

Exhibitions in the City Libraries

At the end of the year, the project will present itself to the public: exhibitions will be held in several branches of the Dresden City Libraries, presenting the works created, providing a review of the various events, and inviting visitors to bioGraphic encounters.

28.11.2020 – 30.04.2021 | LebensBILD. Exhibition library Laubegast
01.12.2020 – 30.04.2021 | LebensBILD. Exhibition library Strehlen
11.12.2020 – 30.04.2021 | LebensBILD. Exhibition library Gorbitz
21.05.2021 – 31.08.2021 | LebensBILD. Exhibition library Neustadt

The exhibitions can be visited during opening hours. In the course of the year, further LebensBILD exhibitions with all illustrations will follow in the Neustadt Library and the Central Library in the Kulturpalast


“I had the feeling that the encounter we need in Dresden and as a society succeeds here. An open, non-teaching exchange about East-West, between old and young with art and ‘being able to tell about oneself’ as a point of contact.”

“Wonderful composition of body-mind-spirit, succeeded in every detail. Unforgettable, as you can transfer it from art to life.”

“Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to paint in this fairytale atmosphere.”

“Thank you so much for having me today. Traveling to another world for three hours. How inspiring!”

“Stirring, overrolling, inspiring, moving. Thank you!”

LebensBILD. bioGrafische Begegnungen

An intercultural project with 21 Dresden artists and many participants with and without a migration background



Dr. Verena Böll (project management)
Elena Pagel (artistic project management)
Nazanin Zandi (artistic project management)
Dresden artists and illustrators

MEDEA International – FMGZ MEDEA e.V. · Johannstädter Kulturtreff e.V. · Förderverein Putjatinhaus e.V. · Volkshochschule Dresden e.V. · SPIKE Dresden · Stadtteilzentrum Emmers · Frauenstadtarchiv Dresden · Café Halva · Omse e.V.

Gefördert durch

The project is supported by the House of Resources Dresden+

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament as part of the state program Integrative Measures.