How much can change in 5 days? As I discovered, quite a lot. When I first arrived to Kampala I found a group of more or less shy art students with more or less certain ideas of who they were. When I left Kampala 5 days later, I got to know 20 individuals, with their certainties shattered, but their confidence solidified. It wasn’t some kind of magic. They were simply put at work by Simon Njami during the 5-day intensive AtWork workshop, held in partnership with Makerere University’s art school and art galleryand Maisha Foundation (see the album on flickr).
5 days of questioning, sharing, exchanging, elaborating, metaphorically and literally taking their shoes off and exploring the notions, spaces and territories, where they have not set their foot before. 5 days of the “collective phsychodrama”, during which the individuals emerged. The individuals that started asking themselves questions and trying to find the answers, opening up their minds and creative channels. The individuals who started to realize that to be an artist you also have to be a thinker and, above all, a human being. The individuals who started to understand that to know anything you have to first question everything you think you know. This process of self-reflection has found its creative expression on the pages of Moleskine notebooks, which were created during the workshop and which will be exhibited at the Makerere Art Gallery from March 19th to April 11th.
The workshop is over, but the process has just started. It will be up to the students to continue to be stimulated by what they have found out about each other and about themselves. The first elaborations of the workshop have already began. Gloria Kiconco, a young writer and Kampala AtWork participant, decided to share with us her reflections on the question “Why Africa?” in our editorial column on Doppiozero. The contemporary art curator Margaret Nagawa gave us a keen outside perspective on the educational process of the workshop in a recent poston her blog.
It will be up to us to keep discovering the worlds and personal stories that each AtWork notebook contains. And to be inspired by them.