The enthusiasm is great: with young people from youth communities, their supervisors, artists and the Education & Art (EDA) Foundation. Between October and December 2017, the project MISSION 21 brings creative expression to the attention of 130 young people. After phase 1 has been completed with interviews in January – held with 24 selected young people and their supervisors, to explain what they can expect from this project – the next phase starts with an information meeting.
It is Sunday, February 4th. The young people selected on the recommendation of 5 artists are sitting quietly at the children’s museum Villa Zapakara, waiting for the kick-off of phase 2, and the introduction with artists. Based on the preferences expressed by the young people for two or three art forms, artists will provide the following workshops: creative writing / art performance by Obed Kanape, painting by Fabian de Randamie, dance theater by Dave Simson, and song writing and music by Wendell Gefferie. Representatives of the American Embassy also come along, with a gift for the participants: a backpack, for all the creative baggage they get from MISSION 21, a beautiful gesture. We talk about the workshop program until the Easter holidays. Because the young people seem to be hesitant to ask questions, Dave takes them to the dance floor where they explore the space and meet each other. The supervisors also participate. It unleashes everyone, and it is with great pleasure that we work together on this first meeting.
In the end 19 young people, who have indicated in the interviews with two members of EDA Foundation that they wanted to participate, are split into two groups. From the information session on, three Sundays per month encounters between artists and young people take place at Villa Zapakara. Each time from 14.00 to 18.00 hrs. Sometimes with both groups, sometimes with only one. The young people and the artists have surprised themselves. Obed challenges the young people to present themselves as they wish, and they all manage to step over that awkward threshold and show the others who they are and what they stand for. Fabian lets them experiment with various techniques, and a surprisingly beautiful treasure of small and large works of art has been created on paper and canvas. Dave’s Dance Theater workshop ‘Freedom of Expression’ is good, exciting, and sometimes a little tricky, because young people are challenged to get out of their comfort zone. Finally, Wendell lets the young people work together on writing texts that might become a rap or another song.
Impressions of the workshops
One more Sunday to go in March. Wendell continues with the focus on writing and with Fabian the paintings of one of the groups will be completed. Then an evaluation takes place, with the young people and with the artists. After the Easter holidays, every artist works with the youngsters once more. The follow-up will include several presentations and discussions on themes that the young people themselves have suggested. The young people will then choose which art form they want to continue with, and thus enter the depth, with a theme about which they want to tell something. EDA Foundation is going to seek that depth with Global Shapers Paramaribo, who will provide information meetings after the Easter holidays. In this way, the young people and the artists will work differently in phase 3: alone and together. Four other artists will come into the picture who, in the role of mentor, bring the youth ‘hand in hand’ further, to help them on their way to express their opinions on societal issues.
EDA Foundation is convinced that the project will continue with the same energy, and just as much trust in themselves and in each other! Because that is MISSION 21: hand-in-hand into active participation!
Written in collaboration with Ada Korbee