2004, December 26th, a tsunami costs the lives of nearly 230,000 people.
In Sri Lanka, the second most affected country, more than 30,000 people died in the disaster.
Emmanuelle Roy, French visual artist, introduced this year an art workshop with children from affected families in Sri Lanka. Under the tutelage of InMaLanka and with the help of Buddhima Perera, coordinator for InMaLanka, a workshop about the ocean took place in a school in Galle. Children were invited to talk about the ocean, make drawings and statues and write a story on this topic. The same workshop will be held in France on the Atlantic coast. Exchange between the French and Sri Lankan children will occur later and everyone will be able to discover the vision of the other of the same element.
Feedback on the first part set up in Sri Lanka, by Emmanuelle Roy
I was pretty worried all day before my first speech, I can not imagine what awaited me. Buddhima had just told me there would be a group of about 30 children who were very eager to meet me, so I put me a little bit under pressure!
We went to the school for the first workshop with Julien, my husband, who was responsible for taking photos and was also quite curious to see me at work! Arrived at the school, the children were there with their parents. They looked as impressed as me, but after presentations done, some big smiles appears and it was much better! It was a bit strange to introduce my self in english with an interpreter! I brought with me some photos of Bordeaux and its surroundings to show to the children where I am living and what looks like the ocean to me. They were very curious, asked many questions, and we broke the ice easily.
Then came the time to start drawing. Children surprised me by their calm, their patience and application. Despite the language barrier, we managed to communicate pretty well. I was both far from home and very close to it. I found in them the same curiosity and the same desire that I can see in french children, perhaps sri lankan children were quieter! I was also surprised by many things: once again the patience of the children, the availability of young people who helped me to translate, the young apprentice monk who joined us to draw, the little calf who lay down in the classroom to take a nap and the iguana crossing the courtyard... all of that just reminded me that I was far from Bordeaux!
I was also impressed by the determination of all children and adults, and the gap with French comfort: some boards assembled in tables and benches, lights that work when they want, a building in the center of the court never finished and unusable, 8 years after the tsunami due to lack of money and availability of workers, while it does not prevent the school to continue to exist and children to learn. All of that sort our ideas out. And always smiles, from adults and children, and a profound respect for all and of everyone, I was really touched by the school and those who are making it live.
Note: A similar workshop will take place in France with children in 2013, after what the two groups will share their work.
Photo credit Emmanuelle Roy
Website of the artist: http://emmanuelleroy.ultra-book.com/