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January 2016 saw a Kinetika team led by Ali and Mark and 8 volunteer artists being invited to run a two week project working with communities in Gondar, Ethiopia, to help educational development charity Link Ethiopia celebrate their 20 year anniversary. Kinetika worked in 10 local schools with over 600 children to design and paint 10 new silk artworks, with a resulting finale event capturing over 1,000 local participants in a celebration of Ethiopian culture and an international artistic exchange.
The team of artists delivered drawing workshops exploring local environment and culture, working with the kids to evolve their drawings, explaining the silk painting process and helping them to scale up and progress their drawing skills. With Art being a subject that isn’t delivered as part of an Ethiopian school curriculum, it was an incredible opportunity for many children to express a level of creativity that they would never had previously had the chance to do.
Our artists then trained a local team, of Link Ethiopia staff & other volunteers, in the batik & silk painting process. The team worked hard to translate as many of the children’s drawings on to the 10 silk flags, one assigned to directly to celebrate each school. The artworks were then produced with a collaborative team of artists, local volunteers and school children, teachers and directors who were invited to the central studios to help paint their flags.
On the celebration event day over 100 students from each school were asked to walk in from their local school site, led by the Kinetika artists and the Link Ethiopia team, into a central location in Gondar each proudly carrying their flags and singing local songs.
When all 10 schools and 1,000 students met mixed in the square with live music, dance performances and a circus gymnastics act it was a fantastic moment to mark Link Ethiopia’s 20 years of supporting and growing education in the area and very rewarding end for the hardworking Kinetika team.
The project will hopefully continue in the Summer of 2016 with a flag making opportunity for 10 linked UK schools, allowing an exchange of ideas and learning of Ethiopian culture for students here. The 20 flags will then be displayed at the Ethiopian Embassy before returning to Ethiopia to become a learning tool for the Link Ethiopia team.
Artistic Direction & Lead Artist: Ali Pretty
Project Co-Ordination & Lead Artist: Mark Forrest
Creative Painting Team & Volunteer Artists: Jane Ford, Margaret Hall, Lesley Robinson, Catherine Simpson, Martin Cobb, Alan Forrest & Anne Williams.
Film & Photography: Mike Johnston
Link Ethiopia Staff: Zemene Mersha, Elsa Kedebe, Yemsrach Teklu, Henok Marie, Eyayaw Bayable & Mikey Azene Azene.
Participating Schools: Tsadiku Yohannes, Rekebnaha, Abiyot Frey, Ediget Feleg, Chechela Elementary, Fasilides, Angaraeb, Arbatu Ensesa, Felegab Abyot, Azezo Elementary & St Georges.