What we have done in 2015…

AtWork Workshop Kampala_Uganda

February 9-13th | Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Makerere University adopted the AtWork format and invited 20 students and recent graduates that are starting their path in the art world. Starting from the question “Should I take off my shoes?” the participants grappled with matters of identity and creativity during the 5-day workshop led by Simon Njami and facilitated by the Makerere University professors Lilian Nabulime and George Kyeyune.  During the first two days the workshop has been hosted by the Maisha Foundation at Maisha Garden, created by the acclaimed film director Mira Nair, who also came to meet the students. The rest of the workshop took place at theMakerere Art Gallery, that in March 2015 hosted the exhibition of the notebooks produced by the students during the workshop. The exhibition was co-curated by the students and Katrin Peters-Klaphake, who was in charge of AtWork Kampala Chapter 03 implementation.

Ecriture Infinie Book 9 at The Divine Comedy exhibition

8 Apr-2 Nov | Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C, US

The exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists curated by Simon Njami, proceeded in 2015 to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Ecriture Infinie /Infinite Writing, Book 9, the work of art by Bili Bidjocka within the show, has been done in collaboration with lettera27 and Moleskine. The book 9 is a triptych, an ensemble of 3 large books that form one single book: white book for Paradise, red book for Purgatory, black book for Hell. The visitors have been invited to copy particular passages from the Divine Comedy onto the pages, in his or her own handwriting, reflecting on the gesture and on the personal meaning of the chosen text.

AtWork Florence Lab by Ou Ning @ IFFTI Conference 2015

May 13-16th | Florence, Italy
The IFFTI Conference is an annual international forum dedicated to the exchange of experiences, ideas and research in fashion and other creative contemporary fields. One of the guests of honour of the 2015 edition, organized by Polimoda, has been the multidisciplinary artist Ou Ning, with his retrospective The New Rural Reconstruction Movement taking place at the National Library. At the center of the exhibition is “Bishan Commune”, a utopian community that the artist started to conceive in 2010 on a notebook donated to lettera27’s artist notebook collection and that has been exhibited as one of the main artworks of the show. For the event, the artist went back to work with the pages of the notebook, this time to inspire the creative process of 12 fashion students during an AtWork workshop. “How to make ideas happen” is the theme of the workshop that Ou Ning explored in conversation with Maria Sebregondi, the original creator of Moleskine brand and its philosophy. AtWork Firenze has been organized by Polimoda in partnership with Moleskine and lettera27.

AtWork format presented at Art Basel 2015

June 20th | Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland

lettera27 has been invited to participate in the Crowdfunding Lab, an area dedicated to the experimental crowdfunding platform launched last year by Art Basel, where we have presented our AtWork format. The conversation has been conducted under the exceptional guidance of our advisor Simon Njami together with our Program Director Adama Sanneh.  It was a unique opportunity to showcase not only the work of the artists that have donated their artist notebook to our collection, but also to give visibility to the works of the young talents that have participated to our workshops in Africa, in front of the international audience of art professionals (gallerists, museum directors, collectors and journalists). The conversation touched upon the social relevance of AtWork and its goal to experiment new educational paradigms, providing the tools that would allow the young creatives to develop critical thinking and make their artistic practice more informed and meaningful.

Ashoka and lettera27 partner for the Storytelling week

October 16-19th, Johannesburg Oct. 29-31st, Cape Town, South Africa

lettera27 and Ashoka implemented the first pilot 5-day storytelling workshop at the African School of Excellence (ASE) in Johannesburg in October. The students learned the basic techniques of script writing, storyboarding, video making, vlogging, and video interviewing in order to be able to tell the changemaker stories of their school and their community.  As part of the storytelling week, we have also implemented the Wiki Africa initiative that allowed the students to create a Wikipedia entry on their Tsakane township. The following week storytelling panels and workshops were held for educators from across South Africa during South African Regional Summit in Cape Town. These are the first steps in the bigger vision to make storytelling part of the Changemakers schools’ curricula.

Venice AtWork Lab with Nation 25, AMM and OSF

October 26th – November 20th, S.a.L.E. Docks, Venice, Italy

From 26th to 28th October the independent organization Nation25 has adopted the AtWork format and has implemented AtWork Lab dedicated to the topics of borders, migration and nomadism. Around 20 participants, among whom two young refugee artists hosted by Civico Zero in Rome, have been led by the artist Emilio Fantin to elaborate on the notion of nomadism in two directions: the nomadism of the thoughts (imagination) and the nomadism of the body (migration).  The produced notebooks have been included in a group exhibition of the Nationless Pavilion that took place at S.a.L.E. Docks: Magazzini del Sale in Venice until November 20th. Venice AtWork Lab is born thanks to the collaboration between AMM -Archivio delle memorie migranti, who was also in charge of the documentation of the AtWork Lab, lettera27, Open Society Foundation and Nation25 curators Elena Abbiatici, Sara Alberani e Caterina Pecchioli.

AtWork Cairo Chapter 04 ‘Something Else’

December 3d–5th| Cairo, Egypt

The first edition of Off Biennale Cairo, entitled Something Else, has been a major month-long event with the headquarters at Darb 1718, Contemporary Art & Culture Center founded by the artist Moataz Nasr. As part of the event we implemented a new AtWork chapter, starting with a three-day workshop held by Simon Njami and facilitated by The American University of Cairo art professor Heba Amin. The workshop involved 16 art students, drawing its theme from the title of the Off Biennale: “Something Else.” It was an opportunity for the students to discuss alternative perspectives on their art practice; a way to question their certainties, step out of their comfort zones and practice critical thinking in such a complex context as Cairo. The notebooks created by participants will be exhibited at Darb 1718 in 2016, in an exhibition co-curated by the students and Heba Amin.

Why Africa? From AtWork participants to Nobel Prize for literature

It has been a year since we have launched our editorial column on Doppiozero. And we are happy to say that our audiences continue to grow and diversify. This year we have published 20 articles, all of them unique and diverse voices from the continent and the diaspora. Some of the highlights include the poetic piece on identity by Gloria Kiconco, AtWork Kampala participant; two critical pieces by Achille Mbembe on Xenophobia in South Africa and The value of African aesthetics; a new partnership with Another Africa on the Tracing Emerging Contemporary Art Practice series, Savvy Contemporary and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s playlist; Joseph Underwood’s personal essay on how African contemporary art is taught at the US universities; Aida Muluneh’s heart- felt piece Visual Communication for Change and the latest provocative interview by Alessandra Di Maio with the Nobel prize for literature Wole Soyinka. We have much more in-store, so stay tuned for 2016!