Tuesday, 26 August 2008
At the start of this year when volunteer sculptor Rebecca Hawkins joined our art workshop for trafficking survivors she expressed interest in encouraging the girls (who have mostly been rescued from Indian circuses) to produce some items to their own design. I was deeply sceptical at the time as Nepal is very much a copycat society where "artists" have a tendency to copy the ideas of others or work from photographs. Indeed, when she prompted the students to design their own mirror frames in mosaic she found that they did so only under extremes of protest. But they produced results nonetheless and I was appropriately humbled.
Last week the latest volunteer sculptor from the UK, Denise Bryan (pictured right), was very proud to be able to show off to me little figurines that the girls had made in private after banning her from the studio for a couple of hours! These represent village women and each figure has its own identity reflecting the work of an individual artist - so the girls hadn't been copying from one another. I believe these figures can now be turned into very marketable ceramics that have a very ethnic, almost aboriginal, feel to them.
Reflecting on this surprising outcome, I can only attribute this to the success with which we have developed a relaxed "creative space" at the Godawari workshop and in how the girls have grown in self-confidence. The aims of the workshop have been achieved and I am sure much more success - and surprises - lies ahead.