New Triple Exposure workshop – Notes from Nablus – Balata

Portraits of kids, by kids: presenting the faces and voices of Nabulsi youth to the world.

Aya - we are all one family

The best way to let the children of Nablus try out digital photography is to take the cameras to them. So June saw the start of our new Triple Exposure workshop – Notes from Nablus. Our first location was Balata UNRWA refugee camp.

After some Q&A on portraits and basic tips on composition we went over how to use the DSLR cameras – as it was the first time for the nine to eleven year olds, we kept it simple by talking about how to use the viewfinder, zoom, flash and how to hold the camera. Everyone made colourful name cards and took each others’ portraits to practice taking shots.

On day two we started by discussing what Nablus means to us. The children talked about what they love about Nablus, and what they would change if they could. They then brainstormed in groups and presented what they’re most proud of about their city/country, and how they would improve it if they were in charge. The levels of political and historical consciousness were impressive despite the young age of the participants.

Finally, we asked the children to each choose a short message to send out to the world from Balata/Nablus/Palestine. After writing the messages on each others’ hands, they took each others’ portraits once again and came up with this series of wonderful portraits which give voice to the children of Balata.

Please see the Notes from Nablus gallery for more photos.

Triple Exposure mural complete in Balata Girls’ School

This month, TYO mural teacher Rimah visited Balata girls’ school in the UNRWA refugee camp, Nablus. Over multiple visits she worked with two groups of girls, ages ten to twelve, to complete two murals either side of the sinks in the school.

The ice breakers and games on the first day really helped pull the groups together and let Rimah know what the girls are interested in. The final game centred on each person saying their name plus the meaning and their favourite subject at school, this brought forth a deluge of information about their interests, families, and dreams. The girls really loved having someone to listen to them.

To get the students started, she let them draw anything they want. And then to get them thinking about the theme, they drew something that symbolizes water and the importance of it to life. After coming up with designs, they drew these onto the walls together before starting painting.

Water shortage is a major issue in Palestine, one complicated further by desertification, climate change, and limited access to resources. The two murals were strategically placed by the sinks to remind the girls to be careful with this precious resource: no water, no life.

One of the two groups had been chosen specifically by the school director due to a history behavioural difficulties such as bad language and fighting in school. As hoped, they responded so well to the mural painting process and added incentive of doing another mural in the future. The teachers said were delighted at the transformation and how cooperative the girls were. They really came together to pool their talents and work as a team. This just goes to show that a little extra attention and creativity can work wonders for any child.

Each group had its own personality – while one was more aggressive, the other was quite shy, so Rimah decided to assign tasks and roles to play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. For example, giving the girls individual responsibilities like keeping extra students away from the work in progress, or individual areas to paint and colours to mix, especially for the shyer students. The relative privacy of the areas given allowed them the space and time to come out of their shells naturally.

These are not simply paintings on walls, they are a way for kids here to develop their creative and collaborative skills, and make a lasting contribution to their community they can be proud of.

Please see tripleexposure.net for more information our arts projects.

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Triple Exposure Rockin’ Out

My 12-14 year-olds coming from the local camps arrived at TYO enthused, eager and ready to learn. Weeks before, they had signed up for my photography class, Triple Exposure, hailing from all the local refugee camps: Old Askar, New Askar, Balata and Al-Ein.  Additionally, a few others come from the surrounding neighborhood of Khalleh and the Old City of Nablus.

While the focus of our first week was to introduce the students to TYO and our overall goals for the semester, we branched off and found many great, unexpected successes. The students showed skills that I thought would take time to develop such as creativity and perspective. The scavenger hunt activity that we did on day one gives testament to these skills.

The angles, use of light, and their passion was evident with each photograph. Furthermore, I thought that it would take many classes- even weeks for the students to learn how to use a Nikon or Canon DSLR camera; however, this was not the case. The students masterfully focused on their subject, adjusted the magnification and great photos resulted. Continue reading

Triple Exposure Mural complete in El Ein boys’ school

Last week, Rimah and the volunteers, in conjunction with a group of eight students, completed a new mural in a classroom at the UNRWA boys’ school in El Ein refugee camp in Nablus. The eight boys, all around 14 years old, had a prior interest in art, and this shone through in their natural affinity for painting. They were full of ideas not only for the mural but also about their futures, and football – asking Rimah if she was a Real Madrid or Barcelona fan – two of the most popular teams here.

Many of them had been to TYO when they were younger, attending the photography and painting classes. Some still find the time to put pen to paper and draw or paint for fun. However El Ein School does not have an art teacher, so this was a great chance not only for the boys to be creative but also to brighten up the classroom for everyone.

We would like to thank El Ein School for such a well organised, well chosen group of boys. They were so talented and professional, and the already established friendships made for some brilliant teamwork!



Triple Exposure Mural Completed at El Ein Girls School

For the first of this summer’s murals, Mural teacher Rimah went to the UNRWA girls’ school in El Ein refugee camp in Nablus. Working with seventeen girls from the school, she brainstormed ideas for the scene. Together, they came up with an idyllic park landscape, based on the ideas of the environment and childhood play, to paint across two walls of the playground.

Rimah taught the girls, ages 12-14, how to mix colours to make new ones, which they especially enjoyed, and to use stencils to put flowers into the scene. The volunteers, fellow fine art graduates Alaa and Inaam, were really helpful, and assisted passersby — sometimes as young as 5 or 6 years old — who wanted to join in. The team worked hard to complete the mural in only two days!

The students love the mural and can take pride in their collective efforts which everyone can enjoy – it’s the first and only one in the school. Needless to say, they have asked to do more!

This summer, Rimah and her team of volunteers will complete ten murals in different schools and locations around Nablus.

TYO and the National Children’s Museum Celebrate Nablus!

On Saturday April 9, TYO and partner, The National Children’s Museum (NCM), celebrated the 1-year mark of the Launch Zone’s exhibits about Nablus, which has provided communities with incite to children’s lives in the city. Over the past year, Launch Zone visitors from across the United States have learned about Nabulsi food, play, and celebrations through three interactive exhibits created in collaboration between TYO and NCM. Throughout the festive day, families enjoyed delicious Arabic food, arts and crafts activities, and storytelling from around the world.

 

Attendees snacked on delicious Maamoul, Spinach Fatayer, Manaeesh with Zaatar, and Hummus!

In addition, TYO proudly unveiled the Suwarna (Our Pictures) photography exhibit for the fist time in the US! Suwarna is a collection of images taken by the participants in the Triple Exposure Program, a TYO initiative that promotes art education for youth, community access to public art, and a better worldwide understanding of Palestine.

Suwarna Images on display at the Launch Zone

The Suwarna and the Nablus Celebrations exhibits will be displayed at NCM’s Launch Zone at the National Harbor for only a few more weeks. Take advantage of the spring weather with a day at the Harbor and catch them before they’re gone!

The TYO Team sends a special message of gratitude to our friends at NCM for very special day and to all the families who joined in the fun!

 

Stitching a Palestinian design at the Nablus Celebration

 

New Photo of the Week on the Triple Exposure website!

Check out this week’s photo of the week by Triple Exposure photography student Doha, as described by TYO intern Mathilda:

Twelve year old Doha is from Khallet-al Amood, Nablus. Like many of the Triple Exposure kids, she loves to photograph her siblings. She took this photo of her one year old brother, Omar, on the terrace when he was crying out for their mother.

A sneak peak!

“Triple Exposure” is an initiative of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization to promote art education for youth, community access to public art, and a better worldwide understanding of Palestine.

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