Working with groups of youths, artist Chloe Sempere inspired creative art projects throughout Kenya as part of her fellowship with the Gnu Foundation. Art ‘events’ were held with children in the slums of Nairobi, secondary school children in the rural village of Kilimambogo and with the orphan children at Kusitawi Village in central Kenya.
For many of the youth it was their first time expressing themselves in a free form artistic manner and was an inspiration to the local teachers as well. The youth, teachers and staff were all inspired and creative, with legacy art programs and school art ‘clubs’ now established to follow the one day events.
In the slums of Haruma (Nairobi), Gnu Foundation microloan partner Furaha Community Center invited their school children to participate in an ‘art event’. Using brushes, pencils, sticks, hands, fingers, grasses and other creative tools the students painted a mural embracing their sense of community and family.
At Magogoni Secondary School over 50 students interested in art participated at the all day art program event — several large scale murals representing their vision of community were created and a lively spontaneous art gallery ensued showcasing individual paintings made on newspaper ‘canvases’.
At Kusitawi Village – the home base for the Children of Strength orphanage program (http://www.kilimambogo.org) that supports over 450 children, of whom 75 live at the central village ‘campus’ in safe houses. The art project ‘attached’ itself to the walls (and beyond) of the girls safe house with a passion. When Executive Director Elizabeth gitau saw the works for the first time she exclaimed “Imagine! Now it looks as if children live here – how beautiful!
These art programs are another varied example of how the Gnu Foundation fills its core mission of “connecting people to resources” – in this case a recent art school graduate using her talents and connecting one-on-one and ‘hands on’ to inspire self expression and potential in youth a world away. The venues for the program were associated with local Kenya-based Gnu Foundation microloan program partners.