Friday, November 29, 2013

Breaking Down Misconceptions Through Art

"I truly believe that art can be a catalyst for change, altering the way people see themselves and the world around them, which is why I am so enthusiastic about community/participatory art and activism." - Beccy McCray

A few months ago I had been contacted by artist and creative producer, Beccy McCray. She expressed great interest in having a workshop at our organization and proposed an art/craft workshop. Her desired objective? To facilitate a positive difference by linking people together through creative means and also to have a good time! She was well-aware that many people have negative preconceived notions about favelas and favela residents (being violent and hubs for drug trafficking), and because of those misconceptions her other target was to use art to to tell truths about favela life and favela residents to dismantle those misconceptions.

On November 11th, we surprised our students (from both Will's class and Harriet's class) with Beccy's workshop. To begin, she had each student select a hand-made bracelet, from a bag that she had brought with her, for each student to keep.

After each student selected their bracelet, she explained that their bracelets had been made by participants in England. She gave out instructions for making the bracelets and then told the kids that they will make bracelets for other people in England.

Photos and a bit of information will be included with the bracelets, so that the recipient will know who made their bracelet and where they come from. More specifically, they will all be distributed around Hackney Wick, where the pre-made bracelets she gave to our kids originated from, thus connecting it to Rocinha.
I'm American and  I've  never traveled to London, let alone England so I don't know much about London burroughs. Beccy described Hackney Wick being similar to Rocinha. She states that, "Rocinha actually has a lot in common with Hackney - it too is a deprived area which borders the Olympic Park, but is also a crucible of culture."

Overall, the workshop was a hit. Not only did the kids thoroughly enjoy it, but us resident volunteers also enjoyed it very much as well. A huge thank you, Beccy, for coming out here to spend some time with us and sharing your creativity with us. We couldn't be more grateful! 

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