© 2017 by Nika Bakhsoliani

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Projects

Our Voices from the Spray Cans

expressing ourselves through street art and graffiti

A youth exchange was held in Trysil, Norway in December 2016 supported by European Commission's Erasmus+ programme. The youth exchange gathered 30 participants - four participants and one group leader from six different countries; Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Finland, Poland and Norway.

The main aim of the project is to empower the youngsters to become active and creative citizens in their local communities that are not afraid to voice their message. We want to raise awareness about the importance of taking part in public discourses and democracy and for young people to express themselves and state their message. We would like to increase awareness of street art and graffiti as a possibility for youth to do so.

 

During the youth exchange, we will prepare the participants to get knowledge about active participation, how to voice their message on different topics, art, and street art/graffiti and the philosophy behind it. We will work on various ways to express our meanings about social and cultural issues. Street art and graffiti paintings will be use as a tool to spread peaceful messages about social and cultural topics. Our goal for the youth exchange is to create colourful and creative street art and graffiti in the public places in Trysil. The project will be a new and unique experience, not only for the participants but also for the local people, citizens of Trysil. On end also the environment will be impacted by the beautiful results of the project.

 

The project is implemented by us "Youth for Peace and Equality" 🇬🇪 our partners "Shokkin Group Norge" 🇳🇴, "Fundacja Instytut Spraw Rodziny" 🇵🇱, "Olemisen Balanssia RY" 🇫🇮, "Armenian Youth League" 🇦🇲 and NGO "Stella" 🇺🇦.

Advanced Planning Visit - 14-16 October, 2016

Advanced planning visit is a further step to harmonise the project to the needs of the participants; this is where the group leaders meet several weeks or months before the actual youth exchange. APV for "Our Voices from the Spray Cans" started on 14th of October in Trysil. The venue for the APV was the same as what will be for the youth exchange, outside in the forest cabins. The group leaders had an opportunity to discuss the needs and the interests of the participants furthermore; they planned the activity programme, divided the roles and developed a plan for the pre-departure meetings which took place back home with the participants. The pre-departure meetings serve the purpose to go through every detail with the participants, answer their questions, take their feedback and alter the programme if necessary.

The group leaders had excellent chance to get to know each other and travel to Sweden, the border of which was apparently several kilometres away from the venue.

The APV finished on 16th of October.

The following group leaders will facilitate the youth exchange:

- Nika Bakhsoliani - from Georgia;

- Marit Moberg - from Norway;

- Łukasz Rogowski - from Poland;

- Tatev Gevorgyan - from Armenia;

- Kirill Nikolaev - from Finland;

- Vladyslav Baransky - from Ukraine.

Youth Exchange - 4-11.12.2016

Trysil met us with cold weather. Finally, we all got to the warm cabins, we met each other in the evening to get to know each other better - new cabin-mates, new neighbours and new cultures. After icebreakers and teambuilding that continued until the next day, we were introduced to the project concept, programme and methodologies. 

During the first days of the project, we mapped the reality from our countries. We answered the questions like what kind of Street Art do we have in our communities, what do the street artist usually express by their art, who is the target group of a street artist?  If the young people are involved in social processes, are they active or not? How do we express our disagreement, our protest on different issues? We shared the information we had gathered before. We discussed a lot about the solutions, about the ways to change the reality for better. During the working process on this topics we used different methods of non-formal education - created forum-theatre plays, posters and illustrations, simulated the situations to discover where do we stand, what kind of privileges we have and don’t have, how it feels to be rejected or, on the other hand, being welcomed everywhere.

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As soon as we got to know the reality from different cultures and countries, the time for Graffiti came to us. Not all of the members of our team were professional street artists, but it was not a big deal for us. We worked as a team. Our professional well-experienced street artists made Graffiti workshops for others: the technique of spraying, making stencils, cutting the papers, making our ideas clearer. They shared their arts, experiences, stories and knowledge with us. Now everybody could tell they can make their street art.

During the first days of the project, we mapped the reality from our countries. We answered the questions like what kind of Street Art do we have in our communities, what do the street artist usually express by their art, who is the target group of a street artist?  If the young people are involved in social processes, are they active or not? How do we express our disagreement, our protest on different issues? We shared the information we had gathered before. We discussed a lot about the solutions, about the ways to change the reality for better. During the working process on this topics we used different methods of non-formal education - created forum-theatre plays, posters and illustrations, simulated the situations to discover where do we stand, what kind of privileges we have and don’t have, how it feels to be rejected or, on the other hand, being welcomed everywhere.

As soon as we got to know the reality from different cultures and countries, the time for Graffiti came to us. Not all of the members of our team were professional street artists, but it was not a big deal for us. We worked as a team. Our professional well-experienced street artists made Graffiti workshops for others: the technique of spraying, making stencils, cutting the papers, making our ideas clearer. They shared their arts, experiences, stories and knowledge with us. Now everybody could tell they can make their street art.

After the inspiring and useful workshops, we gathered for brainstorming the ideas: what do we want to be on the wall of Trysil? After hundreds of different ideas we chose the ones that liked everybody:

ϖ    Moose, northern lights, little houses on snowy mountains, pine trees – for the local community, for them to feel that we respect them and their culture, nature, and country.

ϖ    The word EQUALITY – E - for the urbanization process, Q – for peace on Earth, U – for UNIVERSALISM, against racism, A – against religious discrimination, L – for LGBTQ rights,  I – for NO HATE SPEECH, T -  for NGOs all over the world that try to make changes, Y – for Moose,

ϖ    Owl and the Tree of Values – for diversity in the world, different values of individuals, for respect and tolerance.

ϖ    Brainstorming guy and the bubbles of thoughts – for the change, for different actions, for activism, for the better future.

On 9th of December 2016, our Graffiti team worked outside in Trysil for about 8 hours under conditions of temperature 10 degrees below zero, frozen walls and darkness after 15:00. Simultaneously Installation team worked in the center of Trysil on their artworks about “No Hate Speech Movement” heart, Evolution of human and TRYSIL sign.

All these were dedicated to Human Rights Day - 10th of December.

 We made it!

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In the evening there was a beautiful surprise waiting for our team. We were taken into the woods, surrounded by the trees and the snow, to the small tents of Dwarfs to celebrate our teamwork with hot chocolate and warm atmosphere.  Our project came to an end.

The last day of the project before the departure time came, we evaluated the project, gave the feedback to each other, to group leaders and started thinking about the follow-up projects. We all agreed that our cooperation must go on, discussed the different topics, ideas, issues that we want to work on in future, thought of the funding opportunities that we can use, explored the materials, guide books, bookmarks, booklets and best practices that might be useful for planning the projects. The team, divided into several groups, made the outlines of follow-up projects, which will be applied for different grants in nearest future.

With the hope of future cooperation and friendship, we said goodbye to each other and departed from Trysil full of inspiration, motivation and the hope for better future.

OVFSC team

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