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Project Manila – Olandes Marikina 2

In November 2017 the second project in Olandes Marikina began. Upon our arrival in Olandes, we were given a very warm welcome. Since the structures (partnerships with the school as well as Barangay Hall) were already in place due to our first project, we were able to begin work on the second project right away. Together with the help of teachers at the school, our project manager Timothy and field worker Ate Olive were able to compile a list of twenty children, who were either at risk of dropping out of school or who were not even able to be enrolled yet – both being due to financial reasons. It was an emotional challenge to decide which ten children needed outside help the most. All families, with whom we spoke to, had unique and, to a certain extent, sad stories to tell, for which we were very grateful for them to have shared with us. However, after extensive conversations with the individual families, we were able to determine with relative ease, which children were living in the most precarious economic situations and therefore in need of receiving priority.
At a camera workshop, the children were hardly able to contain their excitement as they learned about handling a camera as well as its technical aspects. During this creative phase, the children had one week for taking pictures of motifs found in their everyday life in the streets of Manila. It is important to us that the children during this phase remain free from outside influences and pressures. This means having no boundaries to their creativity when choosing their motifs. Following their week-long shooting, the film rolls were taken to a small photo laboratory and developed, where they were viewed by the children and approved by the parents and authorities.
Despite the large distances separating the buyers from the artists, we hope to establish a sense of proximity between the two by performing interviews with the young artists. We seek to gain a glimpse into their everyday lives, to find out what motivates them, what they enjoy doing, what their dreams are. By getting to know the artists, we hope to be in a better position of understanding their works. As was visible in the first project, the inner compasses of the young artists in our second project are expressed via a common theme in their works. The naive creativity of the children is recognizable in each and every one of their photographs. Furthermore, it is this naive creativity which creates special works of art that are freed from societal norms and rules. The photographs mirror their imaginative ideas, inner impulses, and playful experimental nature. The magic of reality is captured in such an honest way – a way that only a child could manage to do.

A Life In Colours - The works of art

Children, who by nature interact with the world without prejudice, trust their intuition. Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” A child, equipped with a camera in the hand, is guided by an inner compass when photographing his/ her environment and thereby captures how he/ she sees the world: The magic of reality is thus captured in an honest way that only a child could manage to do.
In order to give the identity of each child greater depth, in order to illuminate the person behind the photograph, in order for the viewer to better connect to the artist – each child puts his/ her own ideas regarding the photograph into words. The inner direction-giving compass of children is not only visible in their photography, but also in their writing. Already at a young age, children know who they are, what they like, and who they would like to become.
A Life in Colours exhibits a sense of mirth that the artist retains in his or her youngest years. An education, which is financed through their natural naive creativity in the form of photography, provides these young artists with not only greater opportunities in life, but also an empowering sense of agency. It is important, however, to encourage the children to continue to exercise their own creativity, in order to develop their own solutions – in order to remain the artists that they are. For preserving the carefree nature of a child and to not lose sight of the essence of being one, is essential for a well-rounded education.

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