Me and my project partner, (or partner in crime), the Moroccan artist named Radouane, have begun our work. He is amazing. We feel we met by chance for a reason; to work with these kids and learn from them and help each other. Even cooler, is that we are working together, an American artist with a Moroccan artist. Our project is off and running. Today we taught the kids how to use my digital camera. They were brilliant. We had one group of kids think of poses to make that reveal to the viewer what they were going through emotionally before arriving to Dar Lekbira Center. Thus expressing in body language what they otherwise have trouble expressing in words. The kids were brave and eager to work. Some we really had to encourage and make feel comfortable. I told one girl not to be afraid. I told her there is no wrong, there is no right, in the space of art. “This is you, this is for you, to say something to world.” She didn’t understand all I said, but she smiled. The children often made poses of begging, some covered their faces, or looked up at the sky asking, ‘why?’ The photos were taken by a second group of kids who wanted to use the camera. They did a phenomenal job.
After this segment, we had the same kids make poses expressing how they feel now after being at the Center and how they feel about the future. The kids began to smile, dance.
We shot the images in continuous motions, like an animated film. We will have these photos on exhibition at an event for the Association Dar Lekbira on March 28th.
It was an exhausting workshop, yet I am so proud of the kids. Although, I did encounter something puzzling. A group of kid, who before all but loved me, began to grow cold and blame me for God knows what. Some said I was laughing at the, others told me they wanted me to leave. It hurt me because I came all the way over here for them. I am trying to help them. Then I realize that many of these kids have trust issues and have been hurt when they opened themselves up to people. I have to be mindful of this. They are just looking for reasons to put up a wall because this world has pushed them into a corner. I take a deep breath, and let them say what they want as I head to the train back to Rabat. I must also put up a wall, if I am to help them. What a paradox. Yet the next day I arrive, the very same group of kids run out the gate to hug me.