This past Saturday, I organized a workshop with professional photographers and filmmakers to edit Rwandan artists’ photography and video submissions to the 10th Bamako Encounters exhibit. The four-hour long workshop took place at The Office, a collaborative workspace that is dedicated to promoting arts and culture in Rwanda. Seventeen artists working in photography, video, and new media participated. Each artist met with a mentor at a different workstation. The mentors, who are professionals in photography or video and who are not eligible to apply to the biennale, gave feedback to the Rwandan artists on their projects, edited works, and will continue to meet with artists to help with submissions until the deadline. Artists also met with a writing specialist (Fulbright Research or Teaching Fellows) who helped edit CVs, write artist biographies, and draft critical texts about the work. The workshop was organized in partnership with the Institut Francais of Rwanda, The Office, and the Fulbright Program.
Overall, I was very happy with the turn out and how the workshop went. It was great to see international artists working so closely together, sharing ideas, and getting inspired to develop more artistic and experimental projects. I also felt that it was important to plan a workshop where there would be lots of hands-on collaboration, not just lectures and presentations, as well follow-up with participants after the workshop. In addition to assigning each artist a mentor, I am planning an exhibit in May to show participant’s final projects to the public in Kigali. I am also hoping to coordinate a lens-based media, technical workshop for artists from the Great Lakes Region with the help of Bisi Silva, the Artistic Director of the 10th Bamako Encounters. Our goal: to have the region represented at the Biennale!
This is a link to an article in The New Times encouraging artists to apply!
Thank you to all of the artists who participated, the media specialists and mentors who offered their expertise and advice, the writing specialists who listened and wrote down each artists story. Thank you all for your time, excitement, and for your willingness to learn from and help each other! A special thanks to the very talented Crystal Randazzo who coordinated the workshop with me, reached out to her networks of professionals, and offered lots of technical and organizational advice to make this happen.
Below are photos that I took that day!