How artist connect with young people

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As a winner of the 2017 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF), I can work with other artists and youth (age 13 – 24 years). Thanks to this opportunity, Education & Art (EDA) Foundation can host a project for youth from several disadvantage communities and artists. Participants will work together and individually to experience the right of culture and right of freedom of expression. Hand in hand into active participation, known as MISSION 21.

MISSION 21 is a mentoring project for artists and young people to interact using an out of the box approach, while discussing social issues. The project is divided in 4 phases: organize creative activities in youth communities; provide workshops on several art forms; guide youth in an art form and a theme of choice; and prepare a final presentation. Peer to peer motivation is essential during the execution of this project.

So far young people from four children’s homes have worked on wall paintings, painting words while reflecting on themselves, and they also “pimped” their old shoes. These activities took place in November, and more will take place in December. The artists are Obed Kanape (spoken word artist), Overdo Berghout (visual artist), Maikel Tjin (fashion designer), Fabien de Randamie (visual artist), and Wendell Geffrie (rapper). I am happy to witnessed the impact of Mission 21 during these activities.

Pictures taken from several outreach activities

Obed Kanape was able to motivate those with whom he worked at ‘Hoop Voor Kinderen’, to look at themselves, be open to grow as trees, and share their feelings – sometimes with tears. In an email the head of ‘Hoop Voor Kinderen’ expressed her gratitude for the event that touched the youth and helped “the kids to deal with their past.”  Overdo Berghout went to ‘Het Parelhuis’ and ‘Claudia A Foundation’, where he focused on the protection of our heritage. He explained to the youth what heritage is and why it is important to protect it. Maikel Tjin went to ‘Nos Kasita’ and worked with the youth to “pimp” old shoes. During the evaluation at ‘Nos Kasita’ it was obvious that ‘the kids’ had fun. Some considered to get dressed in the shoes they pimped themselves.

At the end of each activity the artists selected three youth that will be given the opportunity to participate in art workshops and be guided during a year. After the artist is done with his part, EDA Foundation interviews the selected youth to find out what their interests are. Phase two of the project will be designed based on the interests of the selected youth. But before we get there, there are more creative activities to be held at ‘Stibula’, ‘Siswa Tama’, children’s home ‘Saron’ and ‘Maria Internaat’.

Published in newsletter of Suriname America Almuni Association | December 2017