Saturday, August 27, 2011

Becoming a Jedi...

I am finally getting the hang of being a Jedi. It's easy actually. It's all about flowing with the force. You flow, the force does the rest.

In this way I showed up to the Gag'gad'dumpay Youth conference on the Environment with Irene and several other teachers last week. It took us nine hours to get there. I had just traveled six hours from my art exhibit in Baguio, and didn't have time to even get home to Sagada, let alone prepare for the conference.

The conference was being convened to give the youth of the Paracelis, a poor and isolated are of the Philipinnes, a chance to be empowered on environmental and population issues. Irene, from the department of Education had seen what I had done in the mandalas I done in the past and wanted me to do another.

And so, with barely even having a chance to talk to Irene, nor to get a supply of art materials, we arrived. One hundred and fifty youth greeted us and a dozen teachers. I was the only foreigner and everyone was expecting some sort of miracle from me! I must admit a bit of panic and frustration overcame me.

I was there with nothing!

But, that folks, is how a Jedi works.

He shows up with nothing but faith, openness and creativity. The openness and the creativity being one and the same.

And sure enough, everything fell into place. Magically. First, I discovered a classroom with the most lusciously bare wall you can imagine. It's alluring blankness enchanted me at first sight. My eyes widdened and my heart began to pound-- it was perfect!

And thus the weekend co-creation began. Sure enough the students and I found lots of colorful garbage. We began to cut it up into little squares. And then, with paper and pen and a couple boxes of crayons, we all made mandala sketches on paper (imagine sharing 5 boxes of crayons crayons with 60 kids! There were only 7 crayons a box and I felt slightly biblical as I broke them and passed them around to all).

Even with only seven boxes of crayons, these paper sketches turned out amazing. We then mined them for symbols and patterns, we used the most prevalent to sketch with chalk on the beautiful blank wall.

With the pattern established we said a little prayer to bless the mandala and the process. The youngest began, then the oldest, then everyone joined in adding pieces to the blossoming mandala of garbage.

And... a week later, with the help of another class of highschool students, we finished it off. Tad aaa!

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