It’s Sunday and the students all arrive right on time and I throw paint rollers & brushes into their hands send 5 to another Center to paint their art & Ward 2 begins its massive make over.
But wait let’s go back. (Confused you will figure it out)
It’s Saturday morning and here in Swaziland people arrive late & events start late especially with an 8am beginning, so this project right from the start just seemed to move along with little to no problem, as only one student was 30 minutes late everyone else early or right on time, so by 9:00am we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule since the 30 minutes of waiting built in was tossed out at 8:05 when The Free Art Class started.
So during the introduction, I commission every student in the class to paint an approved piece of their art for “my” building. The idea is they are about to learn how to paint murals or art work on buildings.Of course, the building is not mine, it is AMICAALL’s Ward 5 Social Center, we are currently in Ward 2 (The Classroom) and the Town Council is its own center called Ward 3.(By the way Ward 1 & 6, don’t have buildings, the one pictured above is Ward 4). So keep those straight since we will be bouncing literally between the three of them. The students by the end of the 4 different art sessions have to turn into me what they want to draw, there are no restrictions on what they want to draw, but they have to be ready for my edits and approval. Oh, on Sunday, they only have 2 hours to do it.
Joseph Mushipi, he is assisted by 2 other teachers Thebo & Obed, starts his lessons on art covering the basics quickly since each student has turned in on their application with their art, which they all proved they can draw.
He moves to color mixing. Where the fun begins. By the way, the paint we used is oil based so only turpentine cleans it, which none of the students have ever experienced before plus its excellent for wall art.
This leads to what I am going to call the Jackson Pollack moment.
First, a married PCV couple the Messick’s work at an awesome orphanage of 36 children from 6 to 17 called Pastor Valley (http://pasturevalley.com/) just a 30 minute walk away. I offered them 4 spots are who showed up (Seen to the right, Menzi, plus Nanaya, Sandile, Taiwan, Zinhle). Three spots where filled by the Mathendele boys, (seen below the first 3, Sifiso, his brother Valdez & friend Mzwakhe) who I personally went to their homes or they came to mine to fill out the applications, plus Valdez’s mother found a girl who wants to be a fashion designer, Nanaya.
5 others that came to the program from others.
So on Tuesday, July 3rd, well in town, I randomly (or was God was looking out for Senzo) run into Senzo, I always liked him as a player so I asked him if he was still working, nope out of job like most men his age, I asked him if he draws he answers yes a lot. Big Smile happens, I give him an application tell him it’s his responsibility to turn it in before Friday, go about my day planning the Free Art Class. I go to a PC July 4th party on Wed, eat hamburgers & hot dogs & chocolate cake return Thurs to find Senzo's turned in application he made 14.
So Thursday was also my personal prep day for the event because Friday was a clean the center day. (See Part 5 ). Well, like what happens frequently people ask me if I can help their children, the Ward 2 Social Center teacher brings to me this boy Sambulo (16) asking if I can help him, I give him an application telling him it’s an opportunity. Saturday rolls around Sambulo shows up with his application. He makes 15.
Ok, back to the Jackson Pollack moment on Saturday, Joseph lays down a large canvas on the floor tells the students starting sketching anything not living ie shapes, letters, symbols, zig zag, whatever. So although this class is filled with “art” students, it’s really filled with creative kids ages 13-18 plus Senzo who is 27, who have never had proper art class in school since most Swaziland schools don’t offer art as a subject. Most Swazi’s in general do not think outside of the box. Well, 15 students got their boxes busted with this excellent event. So as expected they all sketch neat little things, Joseph brings over the paint so they can start filling them in, he starts throwing wrenches (not literally) at them, he spills their paint cup, knocks the pencil out of their hand causing mistakes. Then he does what must what must have inspired Jackson Pollack at some point in his studio, he drips paint on their sketches, now the students are all confused, their sketches messed up, Joseph kicks it up gear on the pace pushing them to be free.I could see the box being broken on several of them the freeness of art Joseph was trying to create started happening. And so these students true freeing power of art as they all got into the dripping, pouring, spilling the paint and creating expression. Joseph steps up with both hands covered in yellow using them to paint. There was some magic happening. Well, see for yourself this is the final product. It was one of the moments I will remember from my time here in Swaziland, no doubt. To right is Thebo assisting.