On display at Maysles Cinema throughout Congo in Harlem 9, a selection from:
By Benoit Mugabo
COURAGE IN CONGO
Presented by Colors of Connection
Photographs by Pamela Tulizo Kamale
Goma, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
November 2015 - April 2016
This community-based art project worked with adolescent out-of-school girls in Goma, aged 15-19, who were at-risk of – or who were survivors of – sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The girls (35 in total who graduated) participated in a fourteen-week psychosocial arts-based program that included therapeutic art activities, and art activities that built artistic skills. Certain activities helped the participants to build assets that could shield them against risks associated with SGBV and expand opportunities in their lives.
A key component of the project was to engage community leaders and the girls themselves on the issue of SGBV and problem-solve with these groups on how to reimagine a different role for women and girls in society. This approach sought a community-formulated and solutions-oriented response to the issue of SGBV. Through workshops and discussions with community leaders and the girls, new and expanded roles were envisioned for women and girls in society. These roles were then translated into positive imagery that was created by the adolescent girls in two public spaces. The two murals created were titled according to two themes: (1) Women in the Workforce and the Development; and (2) Promotion of Women Leadership.
This project introduced alternative imagery and perspectives about the issue of SGBV in Goma and the Eastern Congo region. At the moment, the vast majority of SGBV imagery in Goma portrays women and girls as victims, powerless and without agency to address the issues that affect them. In contrast to this, the imagery created during Courage in Congo empowers women and girls and asks for broader societal change through shifts in gender relations.
The ultimate goals of this project - to improve the community’s perceptions of girls and their role in society, and for community leaders and participants to engage in assets-focused thinking about women and girls – were indeed achieved.
We at Colors of Connection are artists, educators, researchers and human service professionals who are dedicated to giving voice and bringing healing and development through art to marginalized communities world-wide. Established in 2010, Colors of Connection is the vision of two women, Laurie Reyman and Christina Mallie, who dreamed of working with youth through the creation of public art to enable connections between people and communities. Our mission: Using community-based art, we nurture hope, cultivate well-being, and promote the development in conflict-affected youth and societies worldwide. Colors of Connection envisions a world where the arts are universally accessible and celebrated.
Over the past six years, Colors of Connection has successfully executed seven projects: two in Malian refugee camps; one in an Ivorian refugee camp; one at a remote Liberian university; two in a post war town in Liberia; and one in Goma, capital of a province in conflict affected Eastern Congo. So far, our programs have directly benefited 205 young people, and reached about 100,000 residents in five different communities through public paintings.
This project was implemented in partnership with a local organization Centre d’Appui en Faveur des Mineurs Marginalisés et Exploités (CAMME) and logistical support was provided by the International Rescue Committee (IRC)
To learn more about Colors of Connection or this project please visit: www.colorsofconnection.org
All photographs by Pamela Tulizo Kamale, photography and video assistant for Colors of Connection during the project.
Pamela Tulizo Kamale was born in Bukavu and graduated from Goma where she completed her studies in project management. After working in the field of international journalism for a local news channel, at 22 years old she discovered her passion for art.
She did not study art in school but was trained by a mentor in photography and has drawn her inspiration from her personal history. She is a freelance photographer focused on the areas of the representation of women, adolescent girls and children. She focuses specifically on the presentation of women and their capacity and agency. To date Pamela has had two exhibitions in Goma, one in Lubumbashi, and another in New York exhibiting her work on women and girls.