Kawa, the Blacksmith


Animated film (playing time 13:36 minutes)

Click on the picture of the Kurdish warriors to see the film in german language with english subtitles.

This artwork portrays the Kurdish version of the legend of “Kawa, the Blacksmith”. The legend forms the basis of the original story of the New Year’s and springtime feast, Newroz, as celebrated nowadays by Kurds on March 21st. It symbolizes the reawakening of Spring, as well as the original connection between nature and all people living in the Mesopotamian region. Legend has it that Kawa, a simple craftsman, defeated the tyrant Dahak and then lit a great fire as a symbol of victory and joy.

The feast is popular in the whole Mesopotamian region and was first celebrated in about the 6th century BC. Today, approximately 25 million people of Kurdish origin have been scattered over many countries, victims of oppression and forced displacement. They are united by this experience of flight and expulsion – and, of course, by the celebration of Newroz, connected with the symbol of the big fire. In jumping over the fire, young Kurdish men and women show their bravery. For Kurds in all their diversity, this special day is as much politically charged as it is a day of remembrance, unity, and joy.

The stop-motion animated film is related to fairytale films of German paper-cut artist Lotte Reininger (1899 – 1981) as well as to the abstract fairytale leporellos of Swiss designer Warja Honegger-Lavater (1913 – 2007). The legend of Kawa is treated in an artistic way, allowing the political nature of the material to evoke other associations. Author and designer Ellen Löchner collaborated here with camerawoman, editor, and picture director Dorle Voigt and composer and sound director Jorge Porras-Alvarado. Michaela Palzer performed the narration.

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