Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO


Malraux says a very simple thing about art: “It is the only thing that resists death”… and what is the relationship between the struggle of men and the work of art? The closest and most mysterious relationship. Exactly what Paul Klee meant when he said: “You know, the people are missing. “There is no work of art that does not appeal to a people that does not yet exist. Gilles Deleuze, excerpt from the conference “What is the Creative Act?” given as part of the Tuesdays of the Femis Foundation, 1987

Dear National Center Presidents, Representatives, Colleagues, Members, Friends,

Our world is changing at an ever increasing rate. Travel brings us closer together and further away from each other within borders that everyone raises as necessary and also superfluous distinctions. Relativism makes us forget that a life is never just a life and that our questioning as artists or art lovers is not just a hobby or even an entertainment. The puppet changes the world in this relationship between invention of the material and the hand. More than a gesture, the creation of the puppet is part of the act of creation and theater. The act of gathering and proposing makes and gives meaning to what seems fragile, vulnerable and essential. This Covid 19 pandemic makes us tense. It plunges us into a nameless misfortune and into the responsibility of having to respond to loss and to suffering as well as to the ever-growing injustice. This loss, this suffering, this injustice hits us and destroys what is most dear to us and most precious, namely the link. We live from now on in crisis and in the hope that fate can be freedom and listening again.

Communication has never been so important and obvious in the existence of art. Openness has never been so essential in the face of withdrawal, sharing in the face of confinement. We still have the material to dream, to think and create in new forms. UNIMA does not escape the challenges of its time. And perhaps better than any organization, our organization is positioned in one of the most crucial and tormented periods, because we inscribe it in new visions and new questions. We cannot imagine that what has been before will be as a matter of course tomorrow, and that the future is not just an extension or continuation of what has been. The transition is all the more important as we have changed by the end of a cycle of ways of seeing and working that was in place since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that the virtual congress of this month of April 2021 has inscribed, in the long term, a turning point in a choice of change and a duty of renewal. I salute the considerable work carried out over the last 5 years by the person who preceded me in this position, Idoya Otegui, as well as all my predecessors in whose line I wish to follow. Never before has UNIMA had to face the need for a horizon, a more open place for voices and more unifying projects. Our organization, as well as its communication, are in line with new ways of doing and working that are more horizontal than ever and with the will to do and work better, for greater visibility and more present links between members, national centers, project commissions and the whole of the new Executive.

What should we take away from this last election? First of all, the great participation, because never before has an election been so well attended, and never before has an election represented such a democratic vote. A second pleasing element, is the rise of new figures at the head of many commissions and this rise is mostly female! Looking at these three elements, our organization shows an unprecedented vitality! Questions of greater representation for all of the continents and a greater number of candidates still remain, so that these elections can fully realize our ideals of sharing and fraternity around the puppetry arts.

Let’s go forward, let’s discover these new ways that are waiting for us and that push us in this choice always onward (and not to retreat or withdrawal) in the conscience and the body of our arts. Let us also show our solidarity and our mutual aid stronger than before! We will be all the more responsible as we respond to the new challenges of listening and creation. We will face the risks and the chance to succeed more humanly in the change of this new time, of this new hope.

We thank you for your support and for your past and future commitments to Unima. We thank you for the confidence you have in this new Executive and for the projects we will carry out at your side. We thank you for believing in Unima.

Dimitri Jageneau
General Secretary of UNIMA