After the success of Piga Picha Kenya, in October 2008 we started similar “Kids with Cameras” program in Toronto. This time, however, we ran the program in the classroom of a local public school where Joanna Weis (a member of the Piga Picha team) teaches grade 7. Each of the 15 children, after hearing the Piga Picha story, received a camera that had been previously used by one of the orphans at St.Clares during the Piga Picha Kenya project. It truly seemed to motivate the students in Toronto to hear of the children who had taken a similar adventure half a world away.
Through the weeks we created various exercises and field trips to help expand their vision of what it meant to communicate through photography. In explaining why they had taken a certain shot at a certain angle, the students began sharing their feelings and thoughts. The young students used the photography lessons as a mode of self expression and also developed critical thinking skills–this artistic and emotional development is so important to the discovery of their identities and their role as innovators, social reformers, and leaders.
For the first couple of weeks while I got to know the students at the school I was constantly reminded of children from Kisumu. Children regardless of circumstances often need the same things: a sense of community, a sense of being understood, someone to listen. When asked to photograph their school, their neighbourhood, city, family, and selves the children often brought back photos that were not only poignant but also a distinct record of the times that we live in.
Habari?! It’s been a while but we’ve all been pretty busy. When I last wrote, it was a few days before a one-night showing of the photos during a Christmas concert in Ottawa presented by Ferline Regis. The photos were well received and we were even able to raise some money for future projects.
More recently, we showed the photos during a Black History Month event at the National Library and Archives of Canada. The exhibition was alongside a screening presented by Partnership Africa Canada and the Colours of Africa Film Festival. Everyone was so nice and the screening, a presentation of four of the six episodes of Africa Dreaming was super interesting too.
Serious thanks to Godwin, Sanjay and Sarah at Black History Ottawa for inviting us to be involved with this event. Thanks again to Ferline for having us be part of her concert in December. A huge huge huge thanks to anyone who attended these events and is now reading this blog. After the kids, this is basically for you so hopefully you like what we’re doing.
Meawhile, Alyssa in Toronto has been crazy busy planning an exhibit at Tan Coffee (992 Queen Street West) for March. This should be pretty fun. If you’re in Toronto, please do check it out! There will be an opening on March 12…more info to come.
And now, a few photos from the two events I just talked about…
Alright! There’s been a lot of talk about exhibits and all but never have each of the 16 photos actually been shown here. That is changing RIGHT NOW. For the first time, you can now see the photos that are on display at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa until October 31, online! I’m pretty excited about this. Are you?
Each photo you see in this post is being auctioned on eBay. If there’s one that interests you, you should click on it. This will lead you to the auction page where you can learn more about the individual photograph and place a bid!
The auctions will run until the end of the exhibit on October 31.
Proceeds from the sale of these photos will go back towards youth projects in Western Kenya which is pretty awesome. This is a unique opportunity for you to play a part in making a difference in the lives of Kenyan children!
These kids all worked really hard and I miss them so much. It’s amazing to me that their work has come this far. So proud. SO PROUD!
There’s more going on with Piga Picha and Pieces of Innocence too. Joanna and Alyssa have started a similar workshop at Regent Park Public School in Toronto. Alyssa and Catherine are planning an exhibit in Toronto and Jenny’s got things rolling in North Bay. Exciting times for us. Exciting times for the Tumaini Children’s Project.
Thanks to everyone for their support and for reading this blog to follow our progress! xox
Also, shout out to MoreTimeMoms, GPC Labworks and Michelle’s FrameMaker and Gallery. Huge support. HUGE!