Last weekend, Pass the Crayon was invited by OUTLAW.die Stiftung to attend their event 'Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen' in Treptow Park, from 29th September to 1st October. This travelling maritime project ("Schiffsprojekt") began its journey in Norway, before travelling across the North Sea and along the German river systems, to reach its final destination, Berlin, in coincidence with the United Nations World Refugee Day.
The objective of this social-cultural project, aptly named 'Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen' (To Arrive Safely), was to help the public engage with the subject of 'flight and migration' from a different angle. The project's agenda is based upon the 'Norderneyer Erklärung', which defines key positions on flight and migration, both generally worded and specifically formulated around the role of child and youth welfare.
The project aimed to draw attention to the situations refugees find themselves in before they decide to flee their homeland, during their flight, and after their arrival. The project wished to particularly focus on the most vulnerable and in need of help (be it women, children, adolescents or young families).
First and foremost, there was the display of the 70 copper figurines on board the ship the Al-hadj Djumaa, alongside land-based activities and exhibitions centered around migration, including strong testimonials from refugees about their own experiences of the welcome culture here in Germany.
We had a stage for performances, including music, theater, readings, speeches and discussions. One music performance that I found particularly interesting was the group 'Ingoma Trommelgruppe Berlin' which plays traditional rhythms from Burundi, Africa. It was an extremely lively and engaging musical display, and the audience loved the performance.
Pass the Crayon workshops
In addition to the stage and smaller installations, there was also a Yurt (a portable bell tent with a diameter of roughly 10 meters) where we, Pass the Crayon volunteers, provided art workshops for children on the Friday and Saturday. During these workshops, we posed two questions to the children: "What’s the best thing about being a child?" and "What’s the hardest thing about being a child?". These questions were then creatively explored using art techniques including ink drop painting, styrofoam printing, collages, and drawing and painting. As most of the children were quite young, the preferred method was simply brush and paint, but they all had a go at everything, and some of the artwork produced was wonderful:
The kids had a lot of fun exploring their creativity with their parents and the volunteers, and we had a lot of fun listening to their stories and their thoughts about what they were expressing in their art - mostly related to friends and family.
As the children were still quite young, most of them were unselfconscious about what they were doing, and not too concerned with creating a finished product (a trait which you see far more in teenagers and adults). This allowed them to fully enjoy the creative process- to just be in the moment and express themselves, without fear of judgement.
The results were a huge success and for this reason many children and their parents wished to keep the artwork, however, a lot of pieces remained with Pass the Crayon for our art exhibition, which was held in the Yurt on 1st October, displaying the the beautiful results of the weekend and many examples of young talent.