Artist and Photographer Mark Scheflen Brought Kiboko Projects to Velikiy Novgorod

Global concerns and present-day reality through the eyes of American, African and Russian school children

Mask By: Maxim Drozdov

Exposition “Faces of Youth” opened this day in Small Hall of Town Exhibition Center “Dialogue”. It includes 100 showpieces which are photographs, books, films made by American, African and Russian teenagers who participated in Kiboko Projects. But masks are in the spotlight. Teenagers painted on mask their own world-view and issues affecting them. Some children are concerned with globalization and health, others with their own life story.

“I’ve chosen this concept because the mask serves as a self-portrait.  It recreates you face giving you your identity, so it is individual. Masks help people learn about themselves and others and more importantly to communicate with among themselves and to others. It is not only an art object but serves as a self-portrait for exploration and identity, and a tool for communication.”, says author of Kiboko Youth Project Mark Scheflen.

American artist and photographer Mark Scheflen designed this project 15 years ago. Kiboko Youth Project gives teenagers opportunity to express themselves in respect of the world, extend its boundaries. During the project children from Kenya, America and Russia communicate with each other via Internet.

Among Russian little towns Velikiy Novgorod is the only one which participated in Mark Scheflen’s project. Two Novgorod gymnasiums have already got in the project.

“Communication goes forward in interesting direction, though teenagers have this opportunity only once a week. Fridays they communicate with USA students, Tuesdays with Kenyans.  It goes without saying that children ask naïve questions. E. g. “When does your school year start?” And it appears that it starts in February and ends in November. And they have holidays in December. Another question is about amount of school subjects. Our children study 15 subjects, so Kenyans clutched their head – they have only 8 subjects”, tells Foreign Languages Department coordinator of V. Soroka First University Gymnasium Irina Shirina.

Exposition will last till the end of October. But the project for Novgorod schools won’t end with it. In the near future individual works about life concepts made by our teenagers will be a part of the international exhibition.

October 19, 2010    Velikiy News Agency

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