My friends from the GoDown Art Center, Jimmy Ogonga and Patrick Mukabi, are wanting to gather entries from artists around Nairobi in order to represent East Africa in an upcoming contest involving one minute films. So last week we hosted 17 artists (from Kawangware, Mathare, Kibera, and Dandora) at CTM for a 4 day filming workshop led by Jimmy and Patrick! It was awesome to see the excitement and enthusiasm that resulted from the training and opportunity for each artist to create their own unique video. Each person came up with a story line and then recruited people and props in order to film the scenes that each artist had envisioned. Once filmed, the proper equipment was brought in so that they could each edit the films! These films will be collected and submitted there will be a judging to narrow down the films and award those that represent the best of the 6 different categories of film themes. Maybe one of our artists will win!
So much has been happening that it is very exciting to me that things have been picking up in regards to the arts initiative and it has been encouraging to see artists and the arts groups that I am working with to take responsibility and control- again a promising sign of sustainability! Here are some quick updates…
- Thursday Art Meetings have been handed over to the control of the four arts groups that the Center for Transforming Missions is partnering with. We have dropped the meetings to twice per month and are meeting in Kibera and Mathare informal settlements. The 4 arts groups rotate responsibility for the arts meetings and each are given complete control of certain meetings. There are 5 additional arts groups that we are now exploring partnership with!
- Since the Diaspora of Hope Art Camp in Kibera we are now gearing up for another camp over the August holiday, this time in Dandora which is another informal settlement around Nairobi. After this camp we will then focus on the camp in Mathare for November/Decemeber.
- The GoDown Arts Center is coming to Kibera to train artists in filming and then sending them out into Kibera to film and compete in the One Minute Africa Awards!
- This Sunday marks the end of this year’s Sculpture Class and so the children of Mathare, at the Inspiration Center, will be having an art exhibit in the afternoon. This will be their chance to present what they have learned and to share their artwork with their friends and family.
All the exciting things that are happening makes it hard to say goodbye to the projects and people that I have become so tightly entwined with. I am very excited to see friends and family when I return home August 12th but once I return September 21st I will look forward to hugs from my children, and dreaming up possibilities this next year will hold!
Last Thursday was our first Art from Below artists meeting in the Kibera slum. The turnout was less than I anticipated so we had an abundance of bread and chai but even so, leftovers were not an issue. I was told that Kenyans- especially men- have no problem inhaling a whole loaf of bread all for themselves so actually we had zero left over even though I had bought 8 loaves of bread for only 15 people! We started the meeting more like 5 pm, rather than 4 because of waiting for people to arrive, which made me feel uncomfortable in my western mindset but is good for me to step back and let things happen without trying to exercise control. We started things off by introducing ourselves and then going into an icebreaker in order to get to know one another better and that seemed to loosen everyone up and be a big hit. There were artists who worked with a variety of mediums, including photography, interior design, musicians, drama, weaving, bead work, poetry, painting and drawing, and t-shirt printing. We brainstormed on some big sheets of paper in front about what our hopes are for this group and this is what we came up with…
to market our art for a better, fair price and a wider audience
to form an exchange program where we can learn skills from other artists
to host different events such as the Diaspora of Hope Art Camp, seminars, community projects, ect.
to create employment through selling art
to have an art exhibition,gallery
to use art to educate society and raise awareness
to bring publicity to the artist
Now I have a challenge- how to unite this variety of artistic people by using the vision and goals they have so that they can own this group and adopt a vision that will outlast these 6 months I am here.