I’ve been to Guatemala 6 times now and each time I leave I remind myself how much I’d like to come to this beautiful country without all my video production gear. Just a still camera and a couple of lenses to take photos and that’s it. However, each opportunity I get to go, it’s inevitable that I capture what will unfold during my time there. And the chance to capture the events and stories that would transpire from the I AM ART camp week certainly was one of those opportunities.
Filmming in Guatemala always presents it’s challenges but many things remain the same. It’s an art form on it’s own just preparing the video gear and packing it for the trip down. Especially this trip given I was bringing a good amount of equipment and I’d be joining the team already in country so I was flying solo. The challenge in prepping and packing is thinking ahead and trying to predict what I will need as well as what will happen in which I can best capture the moments. Even though I was going to a country I had been several times before, the disadvantage is that I would be in a part of the city I had never been previously – capturing moments from the art camp in which I had never attended before – and documenting people I had never met in person.
However, in a way, the unpredictability is something I’m use to. It’s not the best scenario for achieving the best results for production but problem solving is a huge part of producing and capturing stories. All the same, art can be looked at the same way. When artists attempt to create, there’s always an unknown, the blank page, the empty canvas, the blinking still cursor. As a creative I always start with a question. And that question is answered through the work I create. Ask any artist and they will tell you the same.
So what questions did the kids ask during the week?
One of the beautiful things I love about I AM ART is that there a discovery that takes place and unfolds right before your eyes. Most of the kids have no idea what that question is and the path to find it is an amazing journey, both for the kids and the artists. One of the exciting things about my job is I get to be fly on the wall and capture that journey.
By midweek most of the children have figured out what their question is. It could be “Who Am I? What is my place in my community? How can I be creative?” and many more. The amazing thing to see is those questions being solved. Kids discovering talent they had no idea they had, boys and girls figuring out how creativity is a communication tool into their world. The Athentikos team works very hard to not only teach them a skill but how that skill relates to them and the world around them.
What’s amazing to think about is the idea that if these kids can answer one question using art during that week, how many more questions can they answer in the weeks to come. How many problems can they solve using their talent and creativity throughout all the weeks of their lives. It’s easy to feel sad for these children knowing the world they live in, the threat of violence, gangs, poverty and drugs. But once you experience an I AM ART week, the overwhelming feeling of hope takes over. Seeing what these kids can accomplish in just 5 days puts a smile on your face, a warm feeling in your heart and a hope that stays with you forever.
We all have problems to solve in our daily lives but there’s something unique and special about seeing children solve problems through art. There’s no proper way to describe that journey, it’s something you just have to experience yourself.