Thursday, July 4, 2013

From Passion to Project...

by Lysaye de Windt

Class Routine
Me: “Ok class, let’s see if you remember… When I photograph a subject from and very low angle, how will it appear... class: “Larger than usual”… Me: “And if I take the same photograph from an high angle, looking down at the subject, how will it look now? Class: “Much smaller!”

The Beginning...
About a year ago, Mrs. Dulcie Goedgedrag had mentioned that Mrs. Roline Sillé, principal at the Van Houte School, might need some help with photographing some pupils of her school. She suggested I get in touch with Mrs. Sille. Little did I know, this project would become such an amazing journey including photography, teaching, learning, sharing, volunteering and a main motivation for what is today, Curaçao Cares.

Mrs. Sillé shared that; “I’ve noticed that some of my students have a low self-esteem as they are continuously being teased about not being pretty enough etc. I would love for you to photograph them, so they can see their natural beauty, and build their self-confidence.”

I started thinking how much more of an impact it would have to not only photograph these kids, but to also teach them how to view their surroundings from a different perspective through a lens; teach them about photography. The mission: to teach circa 90 pupils of this special education school about visual art and to enable them to use photography as a medium for self-expression. In developing their social and creative skills the students would also have an opportunity to increase their self-assurance. Ultimately, the Van Houte School pupils would participate in a number of photography classes, photography excursions, photo review session, mixed-media classes and in the end an exhibit showcasing their talent.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do SO MUCH.”
Maduro & Curiel's Bank was looking for a project in the Brievengat nieghborhood in which their employees could participate as volunteers. When they found out about the visual arts project, they were excited to participate.

MCB volunteer in action - photo excursion in Fleur de Marie
The MCB volunteers joined the photography classes and shared their love for photography and left the students with useful advice in preparation for their photo excursions. They joined the students on several field trips to Fleur de Marie, Sint Annabaai harbor, Landhuis Bloemhof and Parke Tropikal, based on the school’s curriculum, ranging from topics like Punda, the harbor and nature. With each click of the shutter to capture their images, students were encouraged to answer two questions: First, 'what inspired you and why did you choose to capture it from that particular angle'?

Photograph by student @  Parke Tropikal
Curacao Zoo & Nature Reserve
We could see the students self-confidence grow as they saw their photograph projected during class. But as creativity is endless, the project did not end there. Giovani Zanolino gladly accepted the invitation to share his mixed-media skills with the students. The student’s favorite photograph was used as part of their collage masterpiece. As the MCB volunteers helped the students cut and glue their collage together, Giovanni guided them in bringing their collage to life. Last but not least a third element was added the work; the element of paint.
Giovani Zanolino volunteering
during the collage sessions @ van Houte School

The exhibit
After many hours of planning and organizing to crystalize this project, the best part is yet to come. On Saturday July 6th 2013, we invite everyone to 'Ban Topa den Punda' as Curaçao Cares together with MCB will host the van Houte School student art exhibit at Plaza JoJo Correa, revealing the students photographs and mixed media collages.

A very special Thank You goes to Saskia de Rijke from Connect Business Advisory for volunteering her consulting and writing skills and Maduro & Curiel's Bank for generously supporting to realize every single detail of this project. We could not have put this together without the commitment of MCB volunteers!