Find the Artist Within! UNDP Launches Youth Vision Workshop

Life under the “new normal” has been stressful for everyone. In general, humans at our very center of being are social creatures. We rely on each other to express ourselves, discuss ideas and learn new things. Thus, many people continue to struggle with the isolation, stress and boredom that followed the preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever is the time to be connected while being apart. To be busy, safe, happy, and to take care of our physical and mental well-being.

Youth Vision – an Art Workshop to be hosted virtually in December aims to address this issue, whilst building leadership and critical thinking skills amongst youth. The virtual workshop is an initiative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ooredoo Maldives and the European Union.

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The virtual art camp is targeted at youth between the age of 16-25 years of age and requires no prerequisite skills. The only tools you will need for the workshop is a device to access online classes and a passion for art. An art kit with all the necessary materials will be provided, alongside 3g connectivity for the week-long workshop. To join, follow this link.

Art has essentially been an outlet for human expression throughout history. It was no surprise that the recent lockdown fueled many creative juices amongst youth, injecting social media feeds with bursts of colour and melodies. In turn, people shared these pieces of art on their respective feeds as it was relatable and expressed something that they also want to articulate. Some even shared their own interpretations or narrated similar relevant experiences forming dialogue around the art piece. In general, artists are often considered to enjoy isolation from society mostly because art is something you can do by yourself. However, the purpose of expression is unachievable without the inclusion of other people.

Lucky for us, a 21st-century pandemic is slightly better than an old-school plague, simply because we have the technology. We do not need to be constantly physically present to maintain relationships with other people and have not had the need to do so for quite some time. Instead, we see how online spaces can keep people connected to others.

Youth Vision workshop aims to provide a safe space by helping people engage in respectful dialogue about important societal issues without fear of being a voice lost in the wind. As such, the workshop includes awareness and skill development sessions for youth to share and discuss the problems they face within society. Accordingly, through the workshop, participants will explore the themes of job security and livelihood, environment, leadership, violence and abuse, social cohesion and peace.

Once again, no prior skills are required to join the workshop that will take place online from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm. Participants will be mentored by experienced artists, in the fields of 2D art, photography, multimedia, mixed media and creative writing. During the five contact days, participants will learn research techniques, concept development, documentation and installation as well as how to write a statement and bio. Three “offline” days are scheduled for participants to work on their art piece by themselves.

The goal at the end of the workshop is to help each participant to create an individual art piece that reflects their personal story, thoughts and ideas. The year is coming to a close and suffice to say it has been eventful thus far. People have stories to tell and how you do so does not matter, whether through words, song, dance, paint or sculptures. Even though we are undergoing one of the roughest times in our lived history, there are still opportunities to stay both mentally and physically healthy. Perhaps a virtual art camp might be one of the many things that become part of this “new normal”.

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