Starting in November, with inspiration from Fee Kyriakopoulos from KIM Architektur & Urbanistik, we put on a series of art workshops. The aim was to bring the local art scene into contact with children living in the Soldiner Straße area, such that there would be some mutual comprehension. Each week a different artist was invited to come to the project space in Wedding, where they would share their skills with the children. We produced a small flyer in German, Turkish and Arabic, which was strategically distributed around Wedding to reach families with young children.
Wedding is still one of the poorer, less desirable areas of Berlin for those young, hip forces of gentrification. The Soldiner Kiez has its own particularities, which make it unique, charming and interesting, but also problematic. The population is rich in its diversity, young and dynamic. However, children are often left to their own devices to play in the streets. While this can be great for kids, playing freely with their friends, it also poses risks. On a Saturday afternoon, it might be good to offer something fun and productive for these children to be doing. Of course, the difficulties facing the huge number of refugees arriving in Berlin is reiterated daily in the media. The workshops were also meant to provide some enjoyment for children new to Berlin, perhaps helping them to improve their German at the same time.
In the first week, Alexej Tchernyi came along to create a stop-motion film with the kids. We all dressed up and took direction from Tchernyi in order to make a magical, ethereal production, with the children acting out different characters behind a range of masks and costumes. In the following weeks, a variety of artists took part in the workshops.
Saâdane Afif brought along his yellow folding ruler, with which we could “measure our imaginations”, creating shapes together.
Gregor Hildebrandt wanted to work with toilet paper to create something new.
Over the weeks we created dough models, origami animals and reams of pictures depicting camels, vehicles, houses and even Queen Elizabeth II.
The kids, the artists and the L’Espace Féminin team ate together, chatted together and started to forge important relationships in a somewhat precarious neighbourhood.