Monday, August 13, 2012

Visual Art Workshops at Ruwwad in Amman, Jordan

Visited Ruwwad in Jabal Al-Natheef in Amman, Jordan (Ruwwad is a non-profit community empowerment organization that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalization through youth activism, civic engagement and education.  

Founded by a group of entrepreneurs, Ruwwad operates through a network of partnerships between the private sector, civil society organizations, government and target communities. It was started in 2005 by initiating an ongoing dialogue with Jabal Al-Natheef, a severely marginalized urban area of approximately 75,000 residents in the heart of East Amman, in order to identify the urgent needs of the youth, children and families of the community. Ruwwad adopts a community organizing methodology that nurtures grassroots leadership development) 

I walked uphill in Jabal Al-Natheef looking forward to a great experience with almost 17 children from the neighborhood-  It was a great feeling knowing that they will get a hands-on experience and exploration of their environment.  We (Muhammad Abuaziz a local artist from Amman and I)  proposed a collage project that is based on the children's environment.  It was very rewarding where the children were very happy and some wanted to do more projects-- 

One group of children found tea bags, sugar packets, small white plastic spoons to describe tea and it's importance on the Jordanian culture and how important tea is as a way to communicate family gatherings and friendship- a very hospitable way to invite friends and family to show love and respect.  How tea or coffee plays a role of community gathers to discuss daily issues on the street.  

Each child felt free to choose the subject they connect with and were very happy and the result was happy and positive children who some wanted to do more art projects.   Other children gave their art pieces to Sara at ARCK to take to the U.S and show case their artwork in Boston.  They wanted to share their love to visual art and their curiosity to how people or children live in the U.S. One girl told Sara, "I love America, its very beautiful there".  

If we can break barriers of intolerability and stereotyping through visual art, we could have a better and safe world of both great understanding about both worlds and that people are people who love art and not wars.  

This was a great collaboration where Amani.Sahouri -Ruwwad art assistance, Muhammad Abuaziz (Arabic Calligraphy artist) came together for a wonderful rich experience- the kids at Ruwwad were very confident and loved to do more art.  These kids who don't receive visual art in their public schools, were very receptive and keen on doing more projects.  We are hoping to have an exhibit of their art work showing in Boston to share with everyone their passion and love to the art- how talented and wonderful these kids are.  This is very important and so rich in providing opportunities to children all over the world -- the message we need people to hear is that art is vital to our health and well being and through Art we can have a sane healthy society.

To view photos of the workshop click here:

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