It was my first time to go to Urban Light and I was very excited and a little bit nervous about this new place.
Urban Light is an organization, it’s a centre offering all sorts of services (Education, employment, health services, art workshops etc.) to young boys who are victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
After having Lunch with the boys, we went upstairs to the roof, to set up our workshop. But before we started the boys surprised Dear, a member of the Urban Light team with a cake and a song for her birthday.
Then we began to explain the workshop. The theme of the workshop today was about the Maori culture, the indigenous people from New Zealand, where Elle is from. The special thing about the Maoris is, that they don’t have a written history. That’s the reason why they express their values, rules and emotions in art. There are so many figures and shapes which have a special meaning for them and their community.
Especially carvings are a very famous part of their culture. They carve into wood, bone and green stone and let arise amazing artworks with a very deep symbolism.
With the boys from Urban Light we wanted to do the carving (but just in polystyrene). For their inspiration we brought them some examples of Maori symbols:
Koru: represent new beginning
Twist: friendship, strong bond between two people/culture
Fish Hook: save travelling over water
Tiki: loyalty and fertility
With these symbols they can describe their emotional situation, what is important for theme in life and what they want to reach in the future.
It was nice to see how the boys started directly to choose some symbols and draw it on their piece of polystyrene but they still came up with some own ideas and didn’t just copy the Maori symbols.
If they were happy with their design they started to carve it. They have to carve away the negative space so that their symbol is the only thing which will stay on it, like a stamp.
Finally they painted their carving in all colours they wanted. So some made their carving very colourful meanwhile some just use dark colours. In the end all artworks look different, unique and in a personal style.
I really enjoyed my first workshop in Urban Light and I’m looking forward to my next one!