” It’s going to be the first time that young people get to exhibit their works in Libreville ” says Claude Bunny-Massassa to me a couple of days into the workshop as we walk along the beach. “You mean first AtWork exhibition?”, I asked confused. “No, I mean the first ever in a big public exhibition”.
It’s hard to really appreciate the importance of bringing AtWork educational format in a country like Gabon, until you actually face the local context. In a city which is in the top 5 most expensive ones on the African continent, creativity is still not the currency that counts. There are no local art centers or art galleries and the only cultural programming is centred around Institut Français and a few initiatives spearheaded by individuals. It is in this context that Bunny decided to be the spokesperson for her generation and to change the status quo.
After having participated in AtWork Kampala that has completely transformed her way of thinking about herself and her role in her community, Bunny has founded her NGO Mukasa and put everything in motion to bring AtWork to Gabon with the support of her team and the patronage of the entrepreneur Tony Mebiame who accompanied the whole process. 10 months later, 24 young choreographers, designers, entrepreneurs, slam poets, film directors, actors, visual artists, photographers and educators got together for AtWork Libreville “Where is South?” workshop to debate, exchange and find their personal “Souths” under the guidance of the maestro Simon Njami.
It wasn’t an easy path, Bunny was tired, was almost ready to quit, but when she saw how day by day those 24 spirits became more and more aware of who they are and where they are going, and have gone through the same transformation she experienced a year before, the doubts have been replaced by determination. “We have to persist and to make our voices heard, creativity is the only thing that can advance us forward”.
During the opening of AtWork exhibition at the National Museum of Gabon, it was the first time that the young people spoke. Passionately, they explained the process that lead them to create their personal “Souths” on notebooks on show, which they have also curated. They spoke about the importance of creativity and personal expression. They were inspired, proud and convinced. And the media, the ministers, the VIPs listened. Since the opening the visitors’ flow is constant, after all it’s not every day that you see 24 creations of contemporary youth at the National Museum.
Today the process activated by the workshop continues. AtWorkers see each other at Bunny’s space to discuss future projects, exchange ideas, create. It is up to them now to use the tools that they have received and make a difference. The exhibition is only the first step.
Stay with us to follow AtWork Tour “Where is South?” as it travels the wolrd to inspire a new generation of creative thinkers!