Monthly Archives: July 2014
From mid June to mid July 2014, Ahmed Hassen, the founder of El Takeiba Center for Artistic and Cultural Development in Cairo, Egypt, is visiting 14km in Berlin to work together on different projects and to share experiences - an exchange visit funded by the DAWRAK exchange programme of the Anna Lindh Foundation. The first cooperation between Ahmed and 14km consisted in a street art workshop for young people, teaching and discussing graffiti and its use as a tool of protesting, and giving a general background about the art of public wall painting and linking it to German history. Ahmed had a great time, showing a very creative attitude and - despite not speaking the same language - working side by side and in intense interaction with the young participants. El Takeiba Center is the first cultural center located in the poor Cairo area of Shoubra El Kheima. Ahmed, who is the director, intentionally opened it there, wanting to create a space that provides access to arts and culture for the inhabitants of the area who so far have been deprived of it. This is one of the main reasons for why it expanded quickly and is now well-known among the people of the district. The whole idea of founding this center came about due to a man called Rabea who was the guard of a famous art institute in Cairo. He loved poetry so much that someday he tried to get the chance to get into the institute and narrate a poem of his own to the audience. Yet he was banned because he was "just" the guard of the place. This incident had a deep impact on Ahmed, and he decided to help Rabea and everyone interested in art no matter what their social class, profession, education level, political views or even religious views are - everyone should have the chance to express themselves via arts and try out their talents. Ahmed believes in the power of art to change what words and arguments cannot. The El Takeiba Center has various projects and organises workshops for different groups of people according to their age, gender, and interests and covering different topics and different artistic methods, from acting, directing, improvising on stage, singing, comic drawing to caricature painting. The center also organises "cultural visits", where people from Shoubra El Kheima are invited to different cultural events elsewhere in the city. The only problem the center is facing is - as it often happens with small NGOs - the funding for these projects. Thus, Ahmed and his co-workers at El Takeiba invest a lot of their own money and time, yet they believe the difference they get to see in the people of Shoubra El Kheima is worth it, as they change for the better and discover their interest in learning more. Later this year, Anja Gebel from 14km will visit Ahmed in Egypt and work with the El Takeiba Center in Shoubra El Kheima.
From 4 August, an internship placement is available at the Berlin office of 14km (until minimum 30 September, or longer). It is a part time internship with weekly working hours from Monday to Wednesday, 10am-6pm. The internship is unpaid. The envisioned tasks of the intern consist in: - Supporting the preparation and organisation of one or more international exchange projects - Research and maintenance of international contacts - Setup and maintenance of a new contact database - Supporting PR activities - Creative work on website texts and photos - Supporting the conceptualisation of future projects - The conceptualisation of own project ideas is possible. If you are interested, please send your application, consisting of a short cover letter and your CV, via email to Anja Gebel at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to receive your application until 7 July!
On the last weekend of June 2014 a Street Art Workshop under the title of “Against Exclusion! Transcending walls and building bridges via Street Art” took place in Berlin-Friedrichshain. It was held by 14 km in cooperation with the Egyptian El Takeiba Centre for Artistic and Cultural Development, the youth club Jugendclub Feuerwache and the beach club YAAM (both in Friedrichshain) in an endeavor of showing the young participants ranging from the age of 13 to 17 a modern and artistic way of protesting and commenting on life conditions that they might dislike or be critical of. The workshop has been a complete success as the participants received the content through an active learning methodology and supporting material; our main rationale was showing the participants how can they reject something yet be ready to express this view through art and painting. At the same time, the participants had the chance to familiarise themselves with the role of street art as a political instrument in the so-called "arabellions". The first day started at the youth club with an introduction about graffiti and its role in the Arab protest movements with examples of different graffiti paintings and stencils from the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions. It was followed by a workshop where the participants were taught by a professional graffiti artist (Pjotr Obuchoff) how to make their own stencils and try them out on wooden plates. They were working side by side and had lots of fun with the multicultural team of 14km, including members from France, Egypt, Great Britain, and Germany, and Ahmed Hassen from the El Takeiba Center in Egypt, who is visiting 14km via an Anna Lindh exchange scholarship. We finished in the evening with a nice open air barbeque at the youth club. The second day started with a joint walk along the Berlin wall, where the young participants approached the famous symbol of the German separation and the graffiti paintings of the East Side Gallery by means of a “Wall-Quiz”. On arrival, everyone was ready to finish cutting their stencils and embark on the spraying part and we had the luck to have an “authorized graffiti area” in form of a wall available for the workshop, thanks to the generosity of the YAAM beach club which is located close to the East Side Gallery of the Berlin wall. There, everyone started spraying their own stencils, tags, and even some styles, with some being positively surprised by the rewarding stencil technique which enables even the less talented ones among us to produce impressive artistic outcomes very quickly. Thus, the day ended with an extremely colorful outcome and many happy faces, and with a 14km team proud to have achieved both our artistic and intercultural aims. More photos are available on our Facebook page. This is a project of the Local Action Plan ('Lokaler Aktionsplan') Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg