Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Letter from Rwanda, Part 1: The Covaga Women get a pavilion to showcase their work

Amakuru Sussana!

Greetings From the "Land of a thousand hills" my name is Grant Jenkin, I and my co leader Robin Ripley have arrived in Kigali awaiting the rest of our team who should be arrive this evening. Robin and I are very excited to be back for our second volunteer trip to Gashora. We met with our host partner Lama Mugabo yesterday and he brought us up to speed on where the project is and what Building Bridges with Rwanda (BBR) is hopefully expecting from our trip. 

We will be continuing with the construction of the west wing of the Covaga Innovation Center (CIC). Everyone is very hopeful that we will be able to complete the first part of the center, the pavilion in which the Covaga women can showcase there work. We will also be doing extensive work with the gardens trying to incorporate some nutritious vegetable and fruit that can be easily harvested for the eventual restaurant. It is also hopeful that the CIC will become an example of sustainable crops in which the entire Village of Gashora will be able to harvest.

It was really great finally getting here and seeing all our hard work with planning and fund raising coming into fruition. It was especially nice seeing Lama again as well as our friends from La Palisse Kigali. It makes me so much more excited to get to Gashora and meet again with all the special relationships we made with the people last year.

Tomorrow we are hopefully going to take our participants on a tour of kigali By moto and bus, and also visit the Kigali memorial center which has the history of the genocide and all genocides around the world. Monday morning we are off to meet with our partners at the Nelson Mandela Education Center, with a short visit to the Rwanda girls initiative in Gashora. And last but most certainly not leasst we will be
meeting with the Covaga woman and taking a look at the project....

Chloe Allred "Collect the stories of the people"


Chloe Allred is a sophomore at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. She recently organized an art auction at Cornish to raise funds for Rwanda Partners. Chloe is also the designer of our "Art for Rwanda" logo. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about art as a form of communication and why she sees herself as a storyteller. 

Chloe Allred,

You recently organized an art auction at Cornish to raise funds for Rwanda Partners. Do you think art can help to raise social awareness? 

Certainly. Art is a form of communication, and a beautiful form at that. The arts not only have the potential to bring these issues to a greater public eye, but to then also spark interest and curiosity for that cause. 

Art and Rwanda, if you had the possibility to carry out any art project in or for Rwanda, what could you imagine to do? 

I see myself as a storyteller, my work a visual narrative; going to Rwanda, I would want to collect the stories of the people there and do illustrations from those stories. I love the coupling of two art forms, word and imagery, they have a synergistic effect when combined. A lot of my favorite artists are illustrators, so that tends to be what my mind aspires to. 

Besides social causes, what inspires you to your art?

I'm mildly obsessed with environmental science and just finished a 3ft by 2ft painting about endocrine disruptors in US waterways and their effects on endemic fish populations...I also like to take a general idea and explore it, see where I can push it. A lot of making art happens before you actually sit down to do the piece. Through out your day your constantly picking up fragments of information; these fragments combine, and combined make the seed of an idea. I'm always carrying a sketchbook so that I can record little details as they come to me. I'm really fascinated by the human body....there's just so much variety from person to person, little tweaks in detail can entirely change a character. I love that. I love drawing long time friends and discovering new things about their face, or little gestures that they have, that I just didn't notice until I sat down to draw them. 

Chloe Allred,
If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would you pick? 

Oh man! What a difficult question.... I just finished watching Wasteland, about the Brazillian artist Vik Muniz. He's definitely super inspiring as an artist and as a human being, it would be a dream to collaborate with him. I love Michael Shapcott's aesthetic, he's been a favorite artist of mine for quite some time. David Choe. Travis Louie. João Ruas. It would be most excellent to collaborate with a writer; it would be wonderful to illustrate a story of Neil Gaiman's.   

Chloe Allred,

Chloe Allred,

Chloe Allred,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creative Times in New York

Finally I have some time to tell you more stories of my New York adventures. Creativity seems to grow on trees here - and I love it! I met so many interesting creative startups here already and it is so great to meet like-minded people. With all this going on we also finally launched our website, entered a creative competition and our ideas are growing and growing... maybe it's just this city which gives my creativity even more drive. 

I visited this gallery which was showing some of Andy Warhol's soup cans, although I didn't find it that spectacular... Just lots of soup cans in lots of different colours... (Am I allowed to write that? I apologize to all the Warhol fans... )  I actually asked to meet the manager behind the exhibition and when she came down to meet me I realized I didn't have anything to ask her...

Even the shop dummies do pilates over here...

 The Guggenheim - many people are always lingering infront of it which creates a really nice atmosphere

My friend the amazing photographer trying to ask this homeless man if she could get his picture. They ended up having a really long conversation but he still didn't want his picture taken - so I just took one from further away...

Washington Square Garden - the parks in New York are very beautiful. There is always something going on, music or a photo shoot

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Introducing: Talent Traders and Colobus Creative

The last couple of days have been very hectic, I've been inspired by this city so much that I'm thriving on creativity - let me show you what I've been working on: 

I'm currently working on our TYT website and I'm introducing a concept called Talent Traders! Many artists have told me that they would love to collaborate more with different artists, but it is often hard to do this, especially across the globe. I would be happy to try this project out - but I need your help for it to work! It is really simple - I just need to hear what you've been up to in order for me to introduce your project on the website. And please spread the word about this!!!
3 Easy Steps
1) Tell us about your creative ideas or your project that you've been working on in your community!
2) Let us know if you are looking for a photographer, illustrator,  painter, journalist, producer... to work with. If your idea fits our creative criteria we will write about your project on the website. Just send in a short summary of your request, maybe even attach an image of what you've been working on and contact details. 
3) Tell a friend about this over a cup of coffee or tweet about it! :) This could be something really great! + Let me know what you think!

Our startup for developing children's book apps and eBooks finally has a name :) We have been working on getting the twittername (@colobuscreative) from another artist who has actually thought of the same name a while ago, which I didn't know until a couple of days ago. But he really supported our project and gave us the account, as he is not using it anymore!! This is really exciting news! We also started a website  to introduce our concept! 
Feel free to spread the word about all of this, repost or tweet it, I would love to get as many artists on board as possible for both projects!!!! ;) 
Have a great week! 


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