The “Kibera Peace Walls" youth mural project will use public art to encourage unity and cooperation between ethnic and political groups ahead of the presidential election scheduled for March, 2013. Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, was strongly affected by the violence and political turmoil that engulfed Kenya after the last election, and preventing a repeat of this crisis is the project’s main objective. (Click here to learn about post-election violence in Kibera.) The community- based youth organization Kibera Hamlets will organize a group of 30 youth to study peace-building and public art, culminating in the creation of 5 public murals in high-profile locations around Kibera, all aimed at easing tensions between different ethnic and political groups and encouraging peace. International mural artist and educator Joel Bergner will collaborate with the youth, leading workshops and teaching them the necessary skills to produce these works of art. The process will be filmed and turned into a documentary, which will be screened around Kenya and broadcast worldwide via the Internet, telling the story of Kibera youth striving to bring peace and stability to their people. The inauguration of the mural will also receive local media attention. The money raised through this Kickstarter campaign will go toward the paints and other materials, the air fare, and daily costs of living and working in Nairobi, such as food and transportation over the course of the project. The idea for "Kibera Peace Walls" was born when Project Organizer Mia Foreman met two extraordinary young women who worked with Kibera Hamlets to uplift their community (read their story here). After being inspired by the youth and meeting with director John Adoli, Foreman shared her experience with her friend Joel Bergner. Together, the three of them began their collaboration and the development of their plan.
There are three main objectives to this project:
1. Use public art to promote peace, understanding and cooperation between ethnic groups and political factions leading up to the 2013 presidential election, with the aim of building a more democratic and stable society. This will be achieved not only through the artwork itself, but also through the process of organizing local youth to work toward this goal.
2. Give Kibera youth an educational experience in which they learn about crucial issues in their community and society, learn team work, express themselves artistically, and have the opportunity to contribute to their neighborhoods by creating uplifting works of art that educate their fellow residents and promote peace.
3. To uplift and inspire residents of Kibera through public art. The murals created will be brightly-colored and skillfully rendered, allowing locals the daily enjoyment of art that all too often is only made available to wealthier citizens.
While these goals are intended to be met over the course of the project, they are also meant to have a long-lasting positive effect in the community. For a young person unfamiliar with his or her ability to create social change, this experience can be life- changing, and can lead to a life of activism and the desire to improve one’s community in a variety of ways. Even those who do not directly participate in the project will be inspired by the artwork, the documentary, and the idea that a group of Kibera youth worked toward the goal of peace and stability.
Kibera Hamlets youth organization: http://www.kiberahamlets.org/
Joel Bergner, international muralist and educator: www.joelsmurals.com
Risks and challenges
One challenge is to identify youth who are motivated and engaged with the community and who will be responsible enough to carry through with the project. The organization Kibera Hamlets will be responsible for this task, as the staff members work with local youth on a daily basis. A second challenge is finding walls that are suitable for murals in the slum, as most houses are not in good enough condition and are made of mud. Kibera Hamlets and Joel Bergner will work together to choose large, public walls that are structurally sound, which will make good canvases for this mural project. A third challenge is safety for the youth and artist. The work will be done during the daylight hours and in areas of the slum that have security.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)