Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Open Your Eyes: Your Look Can Transform Our Lives

Open Your Eyes
Your Look Can Transform Our Lives

The NGO Meninadança has the pleasure of inviting everyone to the event that will be held in Praça Santa Rita, where we will present the theme: Your Look Can Transform Our Lives.  The aim of this event is to transform the big destroyed wall of the old Club into a beautiful artwork made by the girls of this NGO and other community members from different parts of the city with the intention of bringing the different neighbourhoods together in positivity "Peace".  We will use painting and graffiti collaborating with the techniques of Scottish visual artist Kimberley, and other performances throughout the event.

08-06-13 Saturday at 19hrs.
In the rhythm of life.

This was the invitation that we had pasted all over town for the last couple of weeks in preparation of our mural-unveiling event on Saturday night just gone.  And wow, what a night!   The whole Pink House Team has been working flat out over the last couple of weeks and despite the uncertainty of rain on the day we went ahead with the event and it was absolutely brilliant.  I'll start catching up with the backlog of stories and images from our recent projects over this coming week, but for now here's a swift overview of the mural project O Seu Olhar Pode Transformar as Nossas Vidas (Your look can transform our lives):

The abandoned wall we began with: an old club and karate school that closed and has been left derelict for about the last 30 years.

The wall transformed into the final mural: an image of peace, solidarity and the power of love and a supportive community to transform the lives of our children and young people as we look to the future. People of all colours are walking into the centre of the wall, giving one another helping hands to enter the puzzle pieces that create the hands in the centre that represent the peaceful community that our girls want Medina to be, where everyone from all neighbourhoods lives side by side in respect, supporting the children and young people of the town.  In being supported by their families and communities in this way, and seen for their huge talents the children can grow and develop, realising their full potential, "flying" like the doves in this mural, which represent peace and transformation.  The colours of the ribbons are the colours of the Medina flag (green, white and red signalling the founding of the city by an Italian). One dove also carries the Medina flag in its mouth, and the red ribbon is full of eyes painted by the girlsrepresenting their individual hopes and dreams for their futures and the future of Medina.

The detail of the steps leading up to the platform, words chosen by our girls and referencing Rio's Profeta Gentileza, the values that our girls value the most in life: God, Love, Peace, Respect, Unity, Dignity, Equality, Justice, Life, Hope.  

The process of how we achieved this transformation in just 10 days, documented in time-lapse: With the invaluable collaboration of highly talented local mural artist Guina who trained in San Paolo and from whom I learned huge volumes about spray-pistol techniques.  Also with the help of local friends Nanielly Rodrigues and Luao, with capoeira from Wellington Martins.  And with the huge support of fellow volunteer and amazing friend Rachel Alvarez, who was documenting the whole process in photography (updates to come!)  Also with the backstage support of the wonderful neighbours of Praça Santa Rita, who brought us endless smiles with their chatter and kindness in feeding and watering us throughout the week.  A special thanks to Dona Zade who let us guard our paints and step-ladders in her home all week and allowed us to face-paint our girls in her house on the evening of the event. 

Biggest challenges from the week: 
1. Learning to trust the Brazilian work pace to bring us to deadline in time
2. Overcoming the fear of drawing at the top of this tall ladder! 
3. Overcoming my deep-rooted fear of public speaking to talk on the local radio Medina FM to promote the event and talking to the crowd about the design and symbolism of the mural on the night! Apart from the fear, what an incredible feeling to have my collaboration and work valued in this way by the community.  Rita and the local council's belief in me and my work from the beginning of the project has been astonishing and makes me feel for myself the transformative power of the belief of another person in you, exactly what we are aiming for with our girls, thank you so much!

Best moments from the week: 
1. The joy of being alongside our Pink House girls as they painted their eyes  into the design, seeing their pride and excitement.
2. Hearing local lad Luao singing away to himself as he painted. After a few random encounters in the street back in the week of painting Nani and Luana's faces in the space, we invited Luao to collaborate and he helped us out each day.
3. The spontaneous body stop-motion moments with Rachel, Nani, our girls and the treat of Wellington's champoinship-level capoeria! :-)
4. Learning to paint using Guina's spray gun.
5. Being treated to 'cafezinho' at two neighbours homes, including Dona Zade.  "Cafezinho", meaning "little coffee" actually means being treated to a huge spread of coffee, juice, biscuits, cake, cheese and fruit in the comfort of neighbours homes, chattering away.  Time and again here in Medina I have been so moved by the genuine warmth of these beautiful Brazilian folk.  The warmth of the hugs I'm receiving daily from the girls and our many friends throughout the town will keep me feeling like I'm basking in Brazilian sun way into the future! :-)
6. Every child, teen, youngster, worker, granny and grandad that stopped off to look and chat about the wall throughout the week.  It seems the mural really is speaking to people.  One 13-year old girl, Rebecca, even told Rachel and I at the end of the week that her and her friends now pass by there now just to stop and chat.

And of course the most important and heart-warming moment of all: the girl's inaugurating the space,  with impressive dance, theatre, video and poetry pieces and the unveiling of the mural: Despite the rain worries early on in the day the event went ahead and our girls did an amazing job of presenting our theme, asking the local community to Open their Eyes: Your Look can Transform Our Lives.  They performed brilliant dance pieces choreographed by the lovely Lauren Batty and theatre pieces put together by the brilliant Cristina Gonçlaves de Alguilar.

What an honour and a pleasure to be a part of such a beautiful moment, and all while being kept warm in body and soul - in body by the hugs from all sides and in soul just by being alongside our girls and the whole the Meninadança team.  
Thank you all so very much!
Muito obrigada!
big love

p.s. Keep an eye out over the next few posts for more detail about the girls individual work and the project work leading up to the mural collaboration. 

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