We have returned from working with our friends and colleagues at the community center Fellbach-Haus in Suhareka, Kosovo. This was our fifth year of co-creating another week of workshops that included body maps and another deeper look into stop-motion animation.
The Body Map project began in the USA with students from Adelphi University creating their life-size hybrid body map artworks using the content of individual "I Am Poems" or responding to the prompt "Outside my window I see..." as well as collective art/mark making. Each group of 3-4 students was charged with finding a way to work together and to come up with a hybrid person that represented, collectively, each member of the team. This project is loosely based on the body maps projects that come out of countries such as South Africa and Tanzania.
At Fellbach-Haus, the Adelphi body maps were shared as a way of sending greetings from the US students to the Kosovar students as well as a means of illustrating how the children and youth at Fellbach-Haus could go about creating their work. For this project the figure or body is the canvas upon which the group of students collectively shares their ideas, hopes, questions and dreams for the themselves and for an outside audience. This kind of artmaking asks students to consider the lives of others near and far away (US/Kosovo), engage in team work and collective decision making, as well as persistence and commitment in completing the work within a specific time frame. As one student put it, after viewing the final piece, "I've never felt so big before!"
The stop-motion animation work this year was titled Open Stories. For this project youth responded to the prompt "Outside my window I see..." or they interviewed adult family members about their actions and experiences during the Kosovo War. We viewed the work of artist William Kentridge and discussed his use of drawing as a medium as well as how he used the social and political realities of his country's conflict to inform his content. The student animations are an interpretation of other people's experiences during the war or a commentary on contemporary social issues facing the country today. As a final point, it's important to note that all of this work including the curating and final exhibition, takes place over a 5 day period. Pretty impressive.
Brief video showing students' working on body maps as well as final stop-motion animations.
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