Tag Archives: margarita vazquez ponte

island life…

Island: A multi sensorial experience for small children 

So our joint installation Island, came and went, the fruit of three weeks of talks, discussion, sharing, videos, music, walking, theatre, building, a lot of crawling about under things on hands and knees and…er donuts, a lot of donuts.

Anyway here is a glimpse of some of the things we made:

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Most importantly it was the culmination of all these things finally tried and tested by the young audience for whom it was bespokely (is that a word?) created. It lasted for a couple of hours max as opposed to the week it took to conceive, assemble and install but then is that not one of the joys of art? an ephemeral moment that lives on in the memory rather than lingering on in the place.

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For myself as an artist and practitioner it was a highly rewarding experience, working on a common goal and collaborating with people from other disciplines and backgrounds is as good as it gets for me and for sure i developed work i would not or could not have done on my own.

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ThinkArts residency – artists from Kolkata and Edinburgh. Participants: Ruchira DasDana RoyMargarita Vazquez PonteYvonne BuskieNik Paget-TomlinsonThis Residency was funded by Imaginate and the British Council with partnership support from the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh University.

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illustrati…

…bumped into G.L. the other day who quite rightly pointed out that i have been neglecting this site…so here goes.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that i am the worlds most rubbish self publicist and with that in mind, here is an article (and images) i wrote for the May edition (better late than never…) of Italian based graphics magazine Illustrati on the subject of “abandon”:

If you click on any of the images below it will take you to an online version of the magazine which you can read or download if you like, or failing that click here, all articles are in Italian and English…

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in the louvre…

Am rubbish at self promotion regarding my own art generally, as proof of this, i just realised i never posted about this:

Believe it or not i had a film shown in the Louvre earlier this year. My short film Muggu_21 was exhibited at the Musee du Louvre, Paris, within the exhibition “Michelangelo Pistoletto, année un – le paradis sur terre” as part of the Twenty One: the Day the World Didn’t End projection.
See if you can spot me in Michelangelo’s catalogue for his retrospective there…i have to make do with the photos as i cant afford the catalogue!!

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moravia report…

…and while we are on the subject of reports (see previous post), here is my final report on the workshop i co-ran in Aug/Sept of last year in Colombia:

Moravia Video Lab – phase 1

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MORAVIA (text in grey is taken from the elpuentelab.org website)

Moravia is a quarter of Medellín, in Colombia, that grew from the illegal settlement of communities that arrived in the city in the ‘60’s. The municipal dump, established in the same area in 1977, gave the inhabitants a chance for survival, based on recuperating any recyclable materials, which effectively turned Moravia into a marginalised quarter with its economy based on and sustained by refuse. Due to social conflict in the early ‘80’s and ‘thanks’ to the presence of the dump, Moravia reached its highest level of population of 17 thousand people in 1983. By 2004 Moravia and its catchment area had 42,000 inhabitants living in just 44 hectares, becoming the zone with the highest population per square metre in the entire city of Medellín. This extreme population density and the indiscriminate appropriation of the land, has caused a decline in the quality of life and a lack of public space. In the same year, the Alcaldia de Medellín (municipality of Medellín) under the guidance of mayor Sergio Fajardo, began the Macroproyecto de Moravia, an integrated strategic plan to promote development through actions aimed toward recovering the urban area and improving the socio-cultural, socio-economic and environmental conditions, working on both physical and social components, such as public space, public hygiene, public housing and education.
Only recently the resurgence of Medellín, founded on culture and education, has led to results even in the Moravia district, the first and perhaps most important of which was the simple inclusion of the quarter within the urban fabric. A significant sign of the quarter’s rebirth is the Centro de Desarrollo Cultural de Moravia (CDCM), a centre whose aim is to promote culture, education and the arts, and which was strongly desired by the community; a project that is truly one of a kind, and that offers a highly valid model for the entire continent.

Moravia Video Lab was a 3-week video workshop for young women with an age range of 14 – 18 years old (with a few exceptions, namely two girls aged 12 and one woman aged 24). The workshop took place in the district of Moravia in the city of Medellín, Colombia between the dates 16 August – 2 September 2011. The workshop was commissioned by artist Juan Sandoval from the Colombian collective El Puente Lab, a platform for artistic and cultural production, active in Medellín, which aims to develop cultural projects on a local level, building bridges of communication with artists and experts through a strategy of international cooperation. Scottish/Spanish artist Margarita Vazquez Ponte and Ecuadorian artist Maria Rosa Jijon were invited by El Puente to curate and run the workshop which took place in and around the Centro de Desarrollo Cultural de Moravia, the district of Moravia itself, and further afield into other parts of the city.

Aims:

  • To teach the basic principles of video making and editing.
  • To give the participants hands on participatory experience within as many of the aspects of video making as is possible within the allotted time.
  • To touch upon themes regarding the position of the female within the context of the girls lives (they live in a society heavily balanced towards the male figure, women are objectified and sexualized at very early ages. The statistics for early pregnancy and domestic violence are very high).
  • To initiate a programme that will eventually sustain itself. To train the girls firstly as participants and then to teach them to become local trainers who can keep on teaching new recruits from within the district of Moravia.

Methodology:

  • The principles of participatory video
  • An instant hands on approach to learning and the technical aspects of the workshop
  • Encouraging the participants to become auto critical
  • Mediation from community leaders
  • Utilising and encouraging sense of place and location as thematic values
  • Utilisation of creative commons regarding authorship
  • Field trips 
  • Public presentation of work and closure
  • Feedback sessions with participants

 

RESULTS

Participants’ feedback:

  • Feedback was very positive; all appreciated the atmosphere of a female only learning environment saying that it helped with concentration and also in feeling less inhibited to express themselves.
  • All were happy with the mixed age group, the common goal united the group and ages were forgotten about.
  • All were very surprised and proud of the results of their own work.
  • The immediacy of the workshop and the quick results were favourably commented on, as was the demystification of the whole process of video editing.
  • Very positive feedback came from the families of the participants who noted a new and invigorated engagement in their daughters.
  • The participants felt that the workshop was too short and that 2 weeks of practical work was not enough. They felt they had only just got going when the workshop ended.
  • The participants felt that there was not enough editing equipment, often three girls had to share one computer and this could become frustrating for them.
  • What next? All the participants wanted to know how to carry on, would there be more workshops?

Conclusions:

  • Mediation, preparation and collaboration with community leaders was imperative to the success of the workshop, without their expertise and local knowledge we could not have operated effectively within this complex area of Medellin.
  • In a very short time, due to a common goal and shared experiences a group of young women empowered by their own capabilities was created.
  • A new archive of films and memories was created about Moravia by citizens of Moravia. The styles are incredibly varied, from commercial, to introspective, to documentary…
  • A platform/ body of work now exists that will allow us to showcase the girls work in other contexts and countries in order to share their work and vision with a wider context and also to generate more interest in the project with the aim to make it spread and grow.
  • Spontaneous collaboration – was one of the most exciting side effects of the workshops. Some of the participants have created lasting bonds and are already in collaboration with each other to make new works. Many of the group also proposed the idea to keep working together independently of the workshop on future projects.
  • It was mutually beneficial for both the artists and the girls to come from such different backgrounds. Part of the richness of the whole experience came from the exchanges of backgrounds and cultural norms we had throughout the workshop period.
  • It is imperative that this workshop should continue in order to consolidate the knowledge and skills of the girls, At the start, video editing is easily forgotten unless it is frequently practised and there is a danger that this past workshop will become a nice experience/memory for the girls but will leave no lasting effect. More training and 2 further workshops should be enough to train local trainers and for the whole thing to become sustainable on a local level and not rely on the help of external consultants such as ourselves.

One of the many films produced by the participants during the workshop:

En moravia hay espacio para la musica

Film by Maria Alejandra Galeano

For more films from the workshop please click here

For the official Moravia Video Lab (written mostly in Spanish) click here

sketching…

I don’t draw nearly enough these days, but here and especially in Butterfly Hill i generally manage to do something…here are some of my sketches from this year, Nov/Dec 2011…often done with a large audience of assorted orphanage kids who lean into you, grab your arms, grab your pens, grab your book…i got quite used to it after a while…

mango tree – drawn while sitting in the shade of the dispensary veranda in Butterfly Hill

banana tree – drawn during lunch time, covered in a shawl to stop the fierce sun from burning me

neem tree plus leaf drawn from the veranda of one of the houses on Butterfly Hill campus

palm trees – drawn in the evening at Butterfly Hill waiting for the milk van to give me a bumpy lift back to Daddy’s Home

papaya tree – drawn during lunch time in the cultivated fields round Butterfly Hill, i drew while the field workers took a lunch time snooze