Suzanne Groothuis

2018

From : Brussels, Belgium
To: Gaza, Palestine

BeeHome Academy

Theatre, Interdisciplinary, Cinema, Visual Arts

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

As a visual artist I came to Gaza for the first time in the summer of 2016 with an organization called the Hope Foundation. In 1996 they have founded an art studio for children there and, over the years, have send numerous artists to this studio to teach the children and local staff. After doing workshops with children in Gaza for one week I felt that I needed to do more. Together with Hope Foundation we have developed a new concept called the BeeHome Academy. This will be an online platform where refugee children, anywhere in the world, can learn about different art-forms by watching films and learning how to make things themselves. The grant from RCF gave me the chance to go back to Gaza and work again with the children and the art teachers. During this visit we made a new film for the BeeHome platform. The children have learned how to make marionettes and how to act/play with them, and the teachers are trained to continue this work even after my departure. They will continue developing art-films for the BeeHome Academy. The platform will be launched by late 2018 and will inspire (Arabic speaking) refugee children all over the world to keep playing and keep thinking creative.

How does exchange, networking and international contacts contribute to the development of your artistic and cultural project?

While being in Gaza I also got in contact with many local artists. We hope to involve them in the creation of films for this platform. Personally this work has given me more connections with multiple artists and organisations, new experiences in the field and, of course, a beautiful movie to kick off BeeHome with.

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

The most wonderful thing of sharing knowledge in a place so far from your own, comfortable environment is that there is a guarantee of gaining knowledge back. There is an automatic exchange from the first moment. Working with other artists and with children only enriches this exchange. By working both with children and teachers in Gaza I hope to bring two things. The first is a practical knowledge of how to make art out of waste materials and a knowledge of works made by professional artists. The second, and more important, is the enthusiasm, energy and fun, that is so hard to keep in situations as dire as the one in Gaza. Both children and adults deeply enjoy the distraction that my visit gives them from their daily lives and they get carried away in the fresh enthusiasm for the projects we do together. These little moments make them reconnect with their own joy and enthusiasm, something that strengthens them for a much longer time then the moment of my presence. What I bring back home comes from observing the children and speaking with the adults. It brought me new views on the arts, life, needs and ways a society can function. It inspires and gives a depth to my knowledge and personality that, without a doubt, makes me stronger as an artist.

Please indicate a link to your current work (website/facebook page)

http://www.suzannegroothuis.com
hit://www.hope-foundation.nl




Roberto Cimetta Fund

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