Saturday, 18 January 2014

Project: Taizé Strasbourg 2013/14

For the past 3 months I have been living in France, working as part of the decoration team for the Taizé Strasbourg meeting.

My role mostly included: research, experimenting with different mediums, painting, preparing the work for shipment, meet with the contractors, sound and light team, serve as a mediator between the Decoration Team and the contractors, help prepare workshops for the event, give tours to visitors to our work area, pigment mixing.

Most of the time we tried to figure out how use well known figures and artwork from around Strasbourg, in new ways so that both people from the town and participants from all over Europe could relate to them. By the time i joined the Decoration Team most of the research was done and I focused on uniforming the style of the different artwork into images that could be painted into fabric and hung in the halls.

Living with 80 girls from 20 different countries and 12 different languages may seem like chaos, but it was in fact a great environment to be creative on and an experience that will live on in my memory.

Spending Christmas away from home, in a tiny room with one Mexican and two German girls seemed like the perfect place to be, as we exchanged the cosy time at home for this time of work and preparation for the 30 000 people expected to arrive to the decorated places 2 days from then.

One of my favourite moments of the whole project was when I got a chance to be part of the Workshop "Finding God in Modern Art". I acted as an ambassador for Christopher Payne's work at the Strasbourg's Contemporary and Modern Art Museum. I got to speak about two of his photographs to the visitors that were interested in knowing more about them and a debate would start about whether or not we could find God in the theme of Mental Health. The 3 hour long experience was deeply touching and I don't think either me or many visitors were expecting to be so moved by it. When we were preparing the workshop we spoke about the challenge we would face with people that don't necessarily consider art a talking subject or simply "don't get it". For me, this was the best part. Getting people that maybe would have just walked past, to stop and think, and understanding that the message was about much more than what they could see at a first glance on these pictures. It gave me a real hope of doing some more work like this in the future.

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