This is more than a project, this is a movement

At first, I thought I was going to leave this project at school. Now, I see that I cannot do that. I learned something so profound, and that is people can create things. They make things out of nothing. In fact, they make beautiful things. And I want to show the world those beautiful things. I even want to search and capture those beautiful things. I  want to help people make those beautiful things. That is why I want to continue this project working the women of Mosaic and New Friends New Life.

But, I do not want to stop there. I want to go further into this thing called Artivism. My goal is to capture art at its finest. That is through healing, raising awareness, being political, and as a form of expression.

All of these painting are hung at the Mosaic shelter. I am very happy that Mosaic is starting a collection of art that I did with the women on the walls of their shelter;)

IMG_1544 IMG_1545IMG_1540IMG_1542IMG_1543

Advertisements

Art made by the women of La Sala

In January 2015, I went to Costa Rica with the Embrey Human Rights Program la salaStudent Leadership Initiative. During this trip, we visited many non-profits, NGOs, and governmental human rights organizations. On one of our stops, we met with an organization that worked with victims of sex trafficking and prostitution. That organization was La Sala.  La Sala’s goal was much different from the goal of New Friends New Life and Mosaic. Instead of tying to get women off the street.They were trying to legalize prostitution and empower the women who were working as prostitution.  IMG_1244

One of the ways they chose to empower the women was through art. They used art to empower the women by making embrace their sexuality. They used condoms to make undergarment. They painted picture of prostitutes. They wrote poetry. I have a great deal of admiration for the ladies of La Sala because they did not ignore the beauty of sexuality. They embraced it. I am not fully supportive of women going into prostitution, and I find it sad that most of these women have to because of gender inequality. But, I fully support sexual empowerment, especially when one is using art to capture it.

IMG_1246IMG_1242IMG_1243

Art Healing Spoken Word Event

arthealingOn January 30, 2015, the Art Healing Spoken Word event took place at Union Cafe.  10% of the proceeds went to the organization I worked with. Those organizations are New Friends New Life and Mosaic. I showcased the artwork created by ladies of New Friends New Life and Mosaic to the general public while Mike Guinn (Chief executive officer at Fort Worth Poetry Slam) emceed the spoken word event. Mike Guinn did an amazing job recruiting varies spoken word artists from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. He had La Bell ( musician for the night), Viola Viki Blocker, Barbara Audacity Johnson, Mariah Fox (Southern Methodist University President of Surround Sound), and other artists from the audience. I wanted some of the women to speak. However, that was impossible because I had to respect their privacy. However, many of the women wanted to attend the event. However, the organization was unable to let them attend the event due the curfew.

The goal for this event was to raise awareness about human trafficking and humanize the victims of human trafficking. I wanted the audience to have the chance to connect with the women by viewing their art. I wanted them to know that a victim of a malicious crime created the artwork they were viewing. I wanted them to have the opportunity knowIMG_1641 that someone like themselves was living in pain. I wanted them to know that people like themselves were victims of human trafficking. And  I believe that goal was accomplish. There was a great turnout. I saw many familiar faces from around campus and many people from the community came to support. There was also a large number of individuals contacting me to see when the next Art Healing Spoken Word event would take place

At first I thought this was going to be a one time event. Now,  I am considering making this event an annual;)IMG_1636

IMG_1633IMG_1632

Making Picture Frame

This activity was conducted on August 9, 2014

On August 9, 2014, we painted picture frames. I thought it would be an great idea for the ladies to paint a picture frame, and let them find a picture that they want to put in it.  The ladies enjoyed painting the frame. All of their designs were incredible, and they all had a special person in mind that they wanted to frame. One woman wanted to frame her son who has Down syndrome.  Another woman wanted to frame a picture of her daughter and her. The other women wanted to frame a current picture of themselves.  They wanted capture their growth. I am glad the women enjoyed the  class.


IMG_0497IMG_0501IMG_0498IMG_0496

Origami

This happened on July 29, 2014.

Today I met with the ladies of Mosaic to do origami. I woman told me she wanted to learn how to do origami in a previous art class. This was an interesting request because I do not know anything about origami. So I decided to find an origami “How to do Book “at Barnes and Nobles. And I did find one, and we did use it.

This was my second time working with the women of Mosaic. I only know two of the women in today’s class. Those two women attended a Wednesday night Bible study with New Friends New Life.  Three adult women and a young girl participated in the art project. One of the ladies was American, another was Russian, and the last lady was from India. The young girl was from Africa. I can tell the Russian woman and the American woman knew each before they came to the shelter because they shared their past experience prostituting with me.

The woman from India was very beautiful because I saw their great deal of optimist in her spirit. She was ready to experience God’s promise. She talked about how much she enjoyed spending time outside talking to nature. She did not mention anything negative about…

The origami project was very hard. It took us the longest to complete the simplest project. At first we wanted to make three animals, a giraffe, dog, and bear. We only completed the dog. However, it  was fun helping each other and making fond of each others origami;) IMG_0247

The Beauty of a Thank You Card

All of this happened on May 10, 2014

IMG_0097The goal for today is to make “Thank You” cards for the women we love.

This is my first Art Healing class and it was held on the day before Mother’s Day. Most individuals look forward to this day. They go all out trying to find the perfect Mother’s Day card and the nicest restaurant to take their mother out to. Mother’s Day is the most celebrated non-religious holiday in America. One this day, Individuals take out the time to honor their mother. However, that was not the case for the women I worked with.

Many of them hated their mother. And some will agree they had a reason to hate their mother. Most of the women I worked with had negative experiences with their mother. Some of the women opened up about their negative experiences with their mothers. One woman said her mother put her out of the house at the age of 16. From then she got on the streets, and there she stayed on the streets. Another woman said her mother never told her she was beautiful. Once she got older, she made it her duty to search for someone who found her beautiful. She found her beauty in some of the worst places, like in a pimp’s arms.

In contrast, my experience working with the ladies was not a “lets talk about my problems” day. In fact, it was fun and happy. I met some pretty artistic and passionate women. Once we put out the art supplies, the ladies went crazy in a good way. They started grabbing paper and prints from here and there. They even asked me to help them brainstorm ideas.

They experimented with words and played with textures. They admired color. They all made something that they were truly proud of. One of the women made the cutest card. She found an image of a caterpillar and made it into a children’s storybook card, which featured The Very Hungry CaterIMG_0104pillar and Where the Wild Things Are? She said she was going to give it the children she worked with. I later found out she was a painter.

Another woman made an absolutely beautiful card. She immerged shimmer, color, and varies textures onto her card. She gave hers to one of the staff members at New Friends New Life. Most of the women gave their cards to staff members of New Friends New Life. Most of the women feel New Friends New Life is IMG_0105their family, and the staff members were their mothers.

New Friends New Life has done a brilliant job creating an intimate atmosphere for the ladies to flourish in. I feel the staff members have a genuine relationship with the women. These relationships will help the ladies in so many ways.

Finding hope when there is none

Like many graduates, I am trying to put my life together. I’m trying to make sense of my accomplishments, my failures, my friends, my life, my meaning. And sadly, I still have not. But, I know my future is still bright. I have so much to look forward to in my future. I have so many opportunities and  dreams to achieve.IMG_1666

Right now, I am a little stressed out about my future. I do not have a stable one, nothing concrete. However, I am starting to remind myself that I have too many opportunities available to worry about the future. It took another art class with the ladies of New Friends New Life. After painting with the ladies of New Friends New Life, I learned that I can’t complain about anything. My life is too perfect.

Lately, I have not worried as much about my future as I used to worry about my future. I met a young woman in one of the art classes. She like myself was trying to find a job. However, our situations were completely opposite. She had ex-felony, and I had a “major” issue. She was not the only woman with a record and job related issue. But, all of the women were dealing with this same issue.

IMG_1663One woman was trying to get a job in construction. However, her confidence was lacking because of her past occupation as a prostitute. She had been a prostitute since her late teens. This had an affect on her relationship with her mother. She said she never had a great relationship with her mother. She said she was a Woodstock baby—a baby without a stable upbringing.

After she made that statement, I began to question how God placed certain people. For example, why does God bless some of us with a picture perfect family and others without? If God is truly a God of equal opportunities, then why does he not distribute blessings equally? Or does he, and we are too blinded by perfection to notice…

Another woman said she was unable to find a job because she of her record and learning disorder. She even said she was considering going back into the business because it was easy and fast money. Once she said that, another woman verbally attacked her saying, “ don’t ever called the streets easy because that is why my life is hard today. It is hard for me to find a job, be seen as a trustworthy person, and provide for my children. That life f***** up my life today. That’s not an easy life. And don’t get me started on rape.”

At that moment, I had to admit she was telling the truth. That life is not easy. However, would she have known that if she had not experienced it? I do not think so. Sometimes God uses our experiences to harvest and recycle wisdom. What that woman had said was so simple and real. It was also the truth, and she was trying to help another woman realize it.

The women enjoyed the painting class. I do not believe they wanted to leave. They wanted to continue painting. The same woman who wanted to go back into the industry said she wanted to paint more, and maybe even make it into a career. She was a great painter;) The ladies of New Friends New Life created the artwork on this blog entry.

I am blessed not just for my own personal happiness, but also to honor God and bless other people.