‘Youth Vision – an Art Workshop’, a series of virtual art camps held over two workshops, where 50 Maldivian youth from across the country were guided and mentored to create an art piece that reflects their own personal stories and lived experiences, concluded on Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, the work of the participants is being showcased in a virtual exhibition launched at the closing ceremony of the event held on Thursday afternoon.
‘Youth Vision – An Art Workshop’ was an initiative by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Maldives, in collaboration with the Youth Ministry, European Union and Ooredoo Maldives.
With the aim to promote physical and mental well-being of young people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual art camps targeted at youth between 16 to 25 years of age, the ministry revealed.
Youth Ministry further stated that the workshops aimed to create a space for young people to meaningfully engage with each other while building their leadership and critical thinking skills, by using art as a means to spark conversations and engage in respectful dialogue about important societal issues.
"We are living through challenging times but the light at the end of the tunnel seems bright. Dear youth, my message to you is go out there, explore the opportunities; the world is now connected more than ever. Don’t give up, because you are the leaders whom we are counting on to pass the torch", said Registrar of NGO’s at Youth Ministry Ahmed Irash.
Funded by the European Union (EU), all participants of the art camps were provided with free art kits and secure 3G connections to help eliminate obstacles, making the workshops a more inclusive and accessible space for everyone.
The workshops were divided into two correlating parts: Awareness and capacity-building sessions, and basic art lessons. Youth explored the themes of job security and livelihood, environment, leadership, violence and abuse, social cohesion and peace through the sessions. In the focused art component, participants experimented with different creative mediums such as multimedia, photography, creative writing, 2D art and mixed media.
"Being able to create art with other people was eye-opening as I got to connect with people I had never met before. It was interesting learning about their experiences, values, and watching them be transformed into beautiful artwork. During a time as challenging as this, the workshops created an open and encouraging atmosphere not only for us to share our thoughts and emotions but also to connect with other people who have been in similar situations", participant Imaan Suhail summed up her experience of the art camps.
"It is our hope that these workshops and experiences have given all of you the space to think critically, share openly and develop a sense of community and understanding. Only then will we be able to pave our way towards more cohesive, caring and resilient communities", Assistant Resident Representative of the Governance Programme of UNDP Maldives Yasmeen Rasheed said.