This workshop was created from the thematic side: the Eco-Hits Academy in Uganda works and teaches about the conscious handling of the environment and sustainability and developed the idea that the students — and thus later also the viewers of the workshop results — raise awareness on the topic in photo, video and recycling arts with help of their own creativity.
Day one: It is the day for the basic introductions to camera use and design options with practical exercises. Outside and inside, the students are out and about with the cameras, curiously watched by the others on campus. At the same time, the video people are on the move and the two students who have decided on the Recycling Arts workshop present their ideas — they work in parallel during the four days and are not seen much.
Day two: Collection of ideas with the students on the subject of the environment, environmental destruction. The interest goes to the visible effects in Kampala, especially to the topic of plastic and garbage and how people deal with the fact that there is hardly any structure. How can this be shown photographically? A flashlight in the group: people drinking, children with recycled toys, cooking on the fire, old packaging compared to new packaging, what happens to old plastic, ecological transport on bicycles, clean water, collecting rubbish, showing positive nature in the city.And then off we start! Fifteen people drive to an area in the city where garbage is collected. Everyone has just peeled themselves out of the vehicles, it starts to rain and doesn’t stop. The waterproof film enthusiasts are still active, the others wait and wait and wait and it doesn’t stop raining that day.
Day three: Again collecting ideas and concretizing them and again it goes off. This day photos are taken on the subject of plastic waste, plastic recycling (there are many collectors in Kampala). There is one street where nurseries sell their plants, which is a good antidote to waste. And flowers are already being bought for the exhibition art corner … The cameras are shared back and forth and taking photos is a community project!
The art group is also on the way, collecting material … Back at the university, the memory cards are collected. While the photographer from Cologne is sorting, everyone gets something to eat from the inhouse kitchen. Then we look at the images, they are projected onto the wall using a projector. Lively atmosphere: that’s what I did! We were at this and that place!
Day four: Arrangements for the exhibition — we need a title! We need advertising! Somebody will make a poster … everyone will post it in the own facebook account … and the exhibition is called: ENVIRONMENT WITH OPEN EYES. photography. filming. arts. Today the participants go out into the city in groups, everyone with a topic to be photographed: Waste (collection), recycling, fire (waste), waterpollution, wrapping (old and new), urban gardening … And one group stays on campus to make a soccer ball out of old plastic and milk bags (surely documented photographically and on film).
At the end of the day the pictures are in lightroom and discussed, including basic informations about the application. In the evening — with the permission of the workshop participants — I work the pictures for the exhibition, edit them and send them to the printer so that they are ready for the exhibition one week later. The video people are also busy cutting five clips on the topic, the artists are still working on their project.
Exhibition: One week later is the exhibition in the main hall of the university! Pictures, videos, art project are prepared. All the students are there, excited and proud. The main hall is huge and no nail is allowed to touch the wall, so another solution is needed for the presentation of the pictures: all the chairs are equipped with a mini desk, which we now use as the basis for the pictures, the chairs are ordered together in groups with the photographed subjects, as a circle, as a row, as it fits. And a large screen shows the group’s videos. In the middle of the room is a small living room made of recycled things, completed on time by the art group: an old barrel converted into a sofa, a table made of car tires, flowers made of paper and lamps made of cut glass bottles: the hotspot for selfies! Irene Mukasa-Erben has prepared the outlines for a large common picture on tree bark, brushes and paints are there and visitors are invited to paint together. A pleasure for everyone!
Some artists hang (glue) their works on the wall: Odur uses old printing plates as the basis for his drawings. A student, young journalist is an enthusiastic environmentalist and she presents photos.