Saturday, June 27, 2009

First week of Taller de Arte

by Camila

Saludos a todos! We are so happy to hear people are enjoying our Taller de Paz blog! We are enjoying a leisurely Saturday after a busy and exciting first week of Taller de Paz. I wanted to share with everyone what we've been up to in the Art and Muraling Workshop. The two main projects we worked on this week were "Auto-retratos" (self-portraits) and the creation of masks inspired by the Carnaval de Barranquilla. The Carnaval de Barranquilla is celebrated every year in February the Saturday to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The most famous masks from the Carnaval de Barranquilla are the "Marimondas" which are anthropomorphic elephant representations which reflect the diversity of Colombia's Caribbean region. These "elephant" masks began as a mockery of the upper classes. The Marimondas and the Carnaval de Barranquilla's other masks and dances reflect the combination of African, Indigenous and European cultures that exist in Colombia. Here are some photos from the Carnaval and the Marimonda masks:


Since we are working with such varied age groups, the focus of the self-portraits changed depending on what made sense for each age bracket. With the older kids the self-portraits included their Head (what they think about and worry about on a daily basis), their Heart (the people and places that are most important to them) and their Stomach (what they like to do and eat). To do this they had newspapers and magazines to cut out and colored pencils and markers with which to color. With they younger kids (ages 6-9) we let them do their self-portraits including cut-outs of anything they liked. One of our younger students decided to represent himself as a dinousaur. I will share photos of the self-portraits in my next post.

Carnaval de Barranquilla Masks

My Art Workshop partner Angélica, and I, began this activity by asking the students if they new of any events in Colombia where there were masks. To my surprise even to youngest kids knew about the Marimondas and the Carnval de Barranquilla. I have loved this activity because the Taller de Paz participants were really excited to make their Marimonda and Tigre masks for the Carnaval de Barranquilla - a hugely important Colombian cultural event that they've all heard about but never been to. I also learned a lot from the students through this activity, since they know much more than I do about the Carnaval. With the younger students we made the masks out of cardboard and paint, glitter, blue and yarn. We are still working with some of the older kids on newspaper papier-mache masks of Marimondas. Below are some photos of the masks (more to come!):

Next week we will begin "maquetas de barrios" or models of the student's neighborhoods where they have to represent in 3-D from their communities and include issues that are present which they would like to change or address (some initial ideas were the presence of drugs, lack of activities for young people and poor trash management services which contaminate and attract rats). We started brainstorming ideas at the end of this week and people seemed very excited about this project. We told them to think about their maqueta as if they were presenting it to local community leaders and elected officials, giving them a young person's perspective on what must be done to improve their neighborhoods in Suba of La Gaitana, El Rincón and Lisboa. Additionally we will begin brainstorming for the mural that everyone in Taller de Arte will create. We are hoping to bring in some muralists and graffiti artists from Bogotá as guest artists and presenters. I'm excited for the coming weeks!

Lastly, I'd like to share with you the usual scene at home with my Taller de Paz family: everyone working, lesson planning and blog posting in front of their compu's:

besos y abrazos a todos desde Bogotá!


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