Emotions are Good!

25 Oct

Kaylie's Class

This was the gist of my Art class this Saturday but also speaks towards other things that happened during the week. My stomach is still adjusting to the food here, I think, and so because of this it was revolting a bit this week. Since coming to Nairobi I have felt a warm fuzzy welcome from the very beginning, however feeling sick makes me wish for familiarity. So this week I was missing home, but am feeling better now.

Also this week I learned of a very difficult situation involving a friend of mine, and one of the artists I have met, who lives in the Kibera settlements. She has two children, a debilitating heart condition, and little financial support from the man she is living with. While I am told these situations are not uncommon to find in certain areas here, discovering the true story behind the smile of my friend was a big eye-opener into the reality that many people go through. This coming week it is my hope to connect this friend with support that will enable her to help her family.

So after a semi-emotional week, I also decided to emphasize how emotions can be communicated in art! The kids acted out various emotions, as the rest of the group guessed the emotion. the actor was then asked to pick a color to symbolize the emotion they acted out and also draw a line or symbol that they thought would well represent the feeling. After writing the emotions in front the kids each chose one and then listed specific things that feeling brought to mind. For instance, Collins chose scared and listed lions and snakes. After this the children drew out their image or images on paper before getting the paint. However, since I want them to learn to really be intentional about mixing the paints into a variety of hues I allowed them to pick just one color, that signified the chosen emotion and then they got black and white. At first the idea of doing a monochromatic painting seemed difficult to them and many initially resorted to painting in the pure color, plus pure black and pure white but after more explanation and coaching they were starting to catch on. This painting will become another 2 week project since I don’t want to rush some kids and other kids I want to encourage them to not rush too much that they do a sloppy job.

Right after Saturday’s class, a group of artists gathered in Mathare to discuss what this year’s theme will be for the Diaspora of Hope Art Camp! After brainstorming a lot we ended up agreeing on the values of Equality and Unity. This way we could also incorporate this year’s World Aids Day theme, which will happen smack in the middle of the camp, on Wednesday.

This coming week will involve solidifying more details involving the art camp, preparing for Thursday’s Art from Below meeting, seeking help for my friend, and preparing for next week’s art class.

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