Monday, 28 January 2013

French star

My training continues and this morning we went to a new primary school. Which was planned as a simple presentation, was in fact a real conference, facing around 40 children. Of course Sezen talked, and I stayed on the side. But as soon as I was introduced, I, the French volunteer, I became the storm centre. And I confess it was as much exciting as stressful.

In fact, it is strange to have 40 faces self-pointed, murmuring Turkish comments, sometimes smiling, sometimes chuckling. But Sezen’s speech ended, half of the kids charged on me, full of questions. “Timo, how are you ?”, “Where are you from, Timo ?”, “Merhaba, nasilsin ?”, “Which football team is your favourite ?”… and it was really nice. They all seem very enthusiastic and inevitably amused by the novelty. The day before, we were in high-school, and even if it was a nice meeting, I really felt the difference today. The energy of kids and their curiosity makes me very happy of the future work together. Especially as one of the main activity will be to paint big school walls. Attractive ! :)

First steps

That’s it, my project seems now to start for real. Indeed, after a few days of acclimation, I have participated this weekend to my first workshop.

I have to admit that my non-Turkish skills are a kind of millstone for now, but it doesn’t prevent me to create first links with the youths. Mehmet, Buse, Esra and Aysegül, old regulars of the association, are very enthusiastic but unfortunately don’t speak English. So, after a few Turkish laborious questions, I thought I have to find a different way to interact with them. And artistic practice offers a wide range of solutions.

Discovering that Mehmet was a rap fan, we could “communicate” through music. I displayed him the most famous French rap artists (“Iam – L’École du Micro d’Argent” mainly). And he gave me on the other hand some Turkish stars names.

A drawing game (“cadavre-exquis”, a several hands exercise), let me to interact with the rest of the group. The result was not mad but the main goal was reached, we have created something together.
Hangers-on were more boring, full of arcane Turkish discusses, but this afternoon, thanks to these first shares, will stay for me as a positive moment.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Merhaba arkadaş !

Or “Hello Friends” ! Finally I am arrived in Turkey ! One year that I was building my EVS (European Voluntary Service) project and now it becomes real ! Wow !

But I didn’t introduce myself. I am Timothée, a 25 bearded french graphic designer from the surroundings of Paris and now volunteer in the “Atölye Deneme Sanat” Association, in Izmir, Turkey. Graduated in June 2011, I could develop year after year a deep interest in social art and political picture. And after spending a few months in a “classical” creative studio in Paris, I decided time had come for me to make my dreams real. I wouldn’t pretend to change the world with my drawings, but I would like to concretely use my skills to produce alternative projects. And that is why it was urgent for me to discover what was really association work. It is right that I could do this in France, but I concurrently wanted since many years to leave my country to have a long living experience abroad. EVS let me to kill tow birds with one stone !

So, after spending months on this endless european database –I will come back later on the EVS process–, containing all the available projects, I finally found this great team in Izmir.
« Atölye Deneme Sanat », a “working group trying to make art in multiple ways”, is a young association of friends offering workshops in theatre, music, painting, cinema and all sorts of artistic actions. Their goal –I think but I have been here since barely one week– is to explore these domains by searching every time new approaches. And most important, their actions are turned to children and young people, who are the centre of each project. These youths are mostly from disadvantaged families, with economical or disability problems, and this point was really important in my choice. 

In spite of its size, this association is full of enthusiasm and motivation and I hope that I really could help them in these 6 turkish months to come. In any case, I am sure that it would be a very rewarding experience for me.