Dutch art teacher gives Monica’s soup kitchen a boost!

May 8, 2017

When we received a mail from Marjet a while ago with new photos of the soup kitchen we were pleasantly surprised. We became really curious when we heard that it was a Dutch "teacher-artist" who had got this together. So we contacted her. It turned out to be Inge Steenhuis, a creativity teacher from Groningen.

Here is her story.

“I spent the past 3 months in Windhoek as a art teacher and painter.. In The Netherlands I also teach 'crea ', as my students call it, and here I am also an applied painter. Every few years I go to Ghana or Namibia or Nigeria for six months to teach. In order to stay fresh and because it is fun to do of course.
This time I taught at an after-school project where I gave painting lessons to children from 6 to 14 years. Because it was after school, I was free in the mornings. I came into contact with Monica Imanga on the terrace of a restaurant where I was a painting. She talked about the Home of Good Hope's soup kitchen in the township of Windhoek, and asked if I had time to brighten it up. It seemed like fun and meaningful.

Together with a Finnish intern, I made a plan to use children's drawings at a starting point. The children made drawings on paper about COOKING and HOME. We collected these drawings and chose the best. Also because of the bumps in the corrugated board, which did not make it easier. That terrible corrugated board which the whole of Namibia makes do with. Cheap construction material, but just draw a straight line from top to bottom over those ridges! That's why I used clear shapes and big brushes so that everything is pulled together. I copied them precisely and here's the result.

My experience after years of teaching in Africa is that creativity and visual ability are in low regard. The children love to draw and paint, but the result hardly comes home and is of no importance. Not important to your future, what’s the benefit really? Especially in the older children this is very strong, the younger ones can still enjoy a crazy tree or a strange mother. I chose the children's drawings instead of my own visual language to show the children that their work is worthwhile and can be used as an eyecatcher, as a symbol, almost as a logo in this case for Home of Good Hope. The children were stunned that I wanted to use their work and had never experienced attention to visual work in their own environment.

All win-win-win I thought!

Now back to the Dutch art class.

Inge Steenhuis

2017 05 08 onder

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