On Monday 10 June 2019 The Exhibition of the project Forging Identity was opened at the Jorge Rando Museum in Málaga. This year our art project was in collaboration with SOS Children´s Villages in El Palo, Málaga.
There were paintings on canvas by the mothers and one father who had participated, works on paper made by the children and works on canvas made by the group of adolescents.
As well as the children, adolescents and parents, also present were the director of the Jorge Rando Museum, Vanessa Diez, who suggested this project to us, Pablo Serrato who works for the museum, who was responsible for our project, Antonio Rodriguez, the director of SOS Children´s Villages, the 3 teachers who were involved, Virginia, Geronomo and Enrique, and the 3 Arts Societies who contributed financially: The Arts Society Costa del Sol (Yvonne Sjokvist), Benhavis (Jane Norrie) and Nerja (Helen Sijsling) and many of their members.
It was obvious that the 3 teachers are the real Champions. With themes like: your place within the family and your identity, the participants all went through quite a process, a real rollercoaster, before arriving at the works that were exhibited. The teachers are really suited for this job of giving art classes to vulnerable people and wanting to take them through a process.
6 parents were involved: 5 mothers and one father, all struggling with serious problems. Only one mother who participated was present, Pepa. She was delighted with Children´s Villages and the possibility of the parents to have their own class. She was very enthusiastic about the teacher Enrique, who was really cut out for the job. She said the art class was like a safe haven, a moment to be alone and far away from the problems at home, Pepa hugged her teacher, she was so greatful.
The paintings of the mothers were quite cheerful, some still lifes. Some of the parents had never before painted but turned out a still life like a Matisse!.
The painting of the father was very interesting: a man surrounded by his thoughts and his shadow, and in the corner people falling into the flames of hell.!!! A Dantesque scene.
Their paintings on canvas give food for thought and make you stop and think. They are all so profound. Obviously the teacher has prompted them with questions, with themes like their role in the family and their identity. Some of the paintings are quite dark, a lot of black is used. I was especially struck by Inma´s paintings: a whole circle of stick like figures in red with their arms waving in the air, and one in the middle black and arms at the side. I asked if that was her and she said yes. Her mother was there too, saying she was going through a difficult period. There was another girl who had painted a nearly all grey painting called Niebla (mist). Her teacher told me that there was a whole building underneath but she painted over it and hid it in the mist.
There is painting of a girl called Judith who has painted her motto across it: Vive y deja vivir. Live and let live
Another girl gave her painting the title: Amor y odio. Love and hate.
She made a second painting which was a portrait of Frida Kahlo!
Food for thought.....She said it was wonderful how you can express your feelings in a painting.
This was not just an art class, killing time, it has caused very interesting thought processes said the teacher, found obviously some dark sides, hopefully they will eventually forge their identity.
There was a child, Camille, who had only recently joined the group.
The children had worked on paper and with plasticine and the end result was a collage of cuttings from their works, glued to a big piece of paper as a final collective work. This girl only joined the class in time to help glue the pieces of art into the whole and she was so happy and proud showing the parts she had glued on to the paper, little rosettes and hands. She was so happy to be there and would love to be part of the painting group after the summer.
After the speeches there was a performance by a young man giving a violin concert, all organised by the Jorge Rando team.
It was wonderful to see so much happiness and greatfulness together, the mothers and children, but also the director of SOS and the 3 teachers. All real champions!
It was a pleasure and honour for us to collaborate on this project. It was great to realise we were making a difference in someone´s life. I think it actually is one of our most important objectives as The Arts Society Nerja.
After the summer this project will continue and finish before Christmas.
On behalf of SOS Children´s Villages we would like to thank all our members and all our visitors for having made this project possible. The exhibition will be in the SUR in English this week, on the Canal SUR and we will be sending an article to the Review, the magazine of The Arts Society in the UK.
In May 2019 there was an article in Sur in English about the exhibition: