Monday, 1 July 2013

Teen angst a thing of the past, after love was sprayed around!

Redbridge's teenagers and children became more harmonious after a series of spray art workshops at the Clementswood Community Centre, during the May half term holidays.

Young people from the local area gelled together to produce art work, that will be displayed in Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford  from 16th June 2013.

The project termed "Love Has No Colour" was funded by the Church Urban Fund and Help A Capital Child, based on a theme of Faith, Hope and Unity.  Participants learned how to create a "tag" - abbreviated versions of their name or nickname in artistic writing.  They also collaborated on a peace mural that now adorns the walls of Clementswood Community Centre and created boards that will be displayed around local parks.

Morning classroom sessions involved children aged between 6 - 11 and afternoon sessions were attended by young people aged from 12 - 17.  The afternoon sessions contained some young offenders who were supervised by the Youth Offender Service in a youth inclusion programme, designed to break the cycle of hatred and suspicion many young people face.  Young Offenders also primed the walls of the community centre for the final mural and repainted the entire interior of the property.

Interfaith harmony presentations were provided by Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group, Mozzam Bilal from the Green Lane Mosque, and Pastor Bryon from Eden Christian Centre, Connaught Road, Ilford, during the 5 day workshops.  A visit by the Clementswood Police Safer Neighbourhood team who talked about the need for communities to work together, inspired the final design.

Pastor Bryon said;

"It was a very rewarding experience to be able to work with young impressionable minds.  I simply spoke of the Love that God provides and the hope we have through this.  Response from participants was positive and their eventual artwork incorporated peace concepts and symbols from all major faiths."

Dominka Zakowana (15 years) one of the teenagers involved in the project said;

"When I first started the course I was a little scared of the boys from the YOS project, however by the end of the course we were all working well together and found we could rely on each other for help."  

She added;

"I have done some spray art in my bedroom before.  However, I feel as if I have gained news skills and  hope to use them to improve the way my room looks."

Hannah Chowdhry (9 years) said;

"We learnt about other faiths different from our own and visited a local church and mosque.  We chose the picture of a Police officer caring for children who were lost in a big town, as we felt Police gave us hope"  

Young offenders who cannot be named said;

GB – "The project was alright, I learnt how to spray paint  which I had never consider engaging in before.  Happy I learnt a new skill. The tutor was fun to work with."
AA – "It was ok, learnt different techniques of how to use spray paints for different effects. Had fun working alongside the other young people however, would of liked to take a picture home.  Enjoyed being interviewed by the Redbridge Recorder and that my photo will be in the local paper."

SF – "Yes, it was fun but could have been given more choice in what to spray paint."  

Chairperson Sania Satwat, said;

"It was great to see the team work exhibited by participants on the course, their willingness to learn and the wonderful works of art produced.  We hope members of the public enjoy them as much as we have."  The participants have learnt many transferable skills and the transformation in the attitudes and manner of the young offenders on the course was remarkable.  The experience we had with this project is one that our group will always cherish."

Dominika Zakowana working on the mural.

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