A quick image from the RespirArt! art festival in Santiago this weekend, where our students’ work was shown. Both our Kurdish and Chilean students’ work was part of the show. For those keeping score at home, our Kurdish students have now been exhibited in 4 countries on three continents. So proud of them!
If you’re one of our Spanish-speaking friends, you can catch a recent interview with Heber and Belen (our founding family) on Latercera TV. It was filmed in Chile, where Heber and Belen will be until early next year.
Erin is currently in Slemani, Kurdistan, and is starting to make plans for upcoming work with kids this fall. Very exciting!
It happened just as we finished hanging the photos, everyone rushing to get last-minute details in place. A woman from the neighbourhood passed by, then stopped still in front of the display. Her hand came up to her mouth and she said over and over ‘so beautiful, so beautiful’. Then Belen told her that the photos were made by children from the neighbourhood. ’I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!’
That story best reflects the mood of our closing ceremony last Saturday. Parents, friends and neighbours were so surprised to see what had been taking place in their neighbourhood. Our students, despite the fact that they’d seen their images on a computer, were faced with their work printed huge, right in their neighbourhood. And they were so proud! We were all so proud!
It was really important to us that the event take place out in the neighbourhood, where the images were made. We wanted as many people as possible to see the student’s work, to see this corner in a different light. We used the fence around the community centre to create a make-shift gallery. We put out food and some chairs. And a happy, surprised crowd gathered to celebrate with the children. The crowd spilled out across the street to clusters of young men, too cool to eat cake with us, yet unable to take their eyes off the photographs.
In each ONE-SHOT Project workshop, our students receive a certificate of participation, as well as a CD with all of the images they’ve made during the workshop. They also got to choose one of their images from the gallery wall to take home.
Saturday was perfect in so many ways. There is something powerful that happens when children are taught to see beauty inside themselves, and around them. There is something powerful that happens when friends and family bear witness.
To everyone who donated cameras and funds, helped us with access, teaching, and staging the closing ceremony… we thank you. Thank you for making this beautiful thing possible.
How can our classes be over already?! It feels like we just started this workshop, and our students are just nicely finding their groove. The good news is that Heber will continue to run something of a photo club (without formal classes) for the students interested in continuing. We’re not sure at this point how long it will run, but a number of the kids are very excited about being able to continue their work.
Today’s class covered ‘Perspective’. It was a fantastic class to watch unfold… Heber did a great job teaching, our students were engaged, there were lots of comments and questions, and then a race out the door with their cameras.
Below you’ll see some images from Lupe and Mary. Both girls worked hard through the whole time we had together, trying many different shots, and working through different examples they were given in class. It was wonderful to see them in action!