Youth Arts Program

With the opening of the new Lautem District Art and Culture Centre in Lospalos Central in May 2014, Many Hands International launched its youth art program, offering young people in the Lautem district the opportunity to stimulate their creativity, express themselves and develop new skills.

Visual arts program: Since 2015, Many Hands has offered a  daily visual arts program to young people. Established visual artist Cesario Lourdes has been leading this program throughout 2016. The students' work has included large street murals in Lospalos and surrounding communities

In March 2017, Cesario's students have their first international exhibition at Gallery 54 in Penola, South Australia where 60 of their linocut artworks are on display.

New project for 2017: Currently Cesario and students are preparing for a new initiative of Avo (grandparent's) Portraits.  Students in Lospalos town and surrounding areas will invite their grandparents or other valued elders to sit for portrait painting. MHI expects that this will strengthen inter-generational connections and introduce elders to talents of their young ones, while the young people will develop their creativity and expressive capacity, and learn new skills in portrait painting from real life for the first time. MHI supporter and Australian grandmother Annette Dunphy is fundraising to support this program, particularly the cost of offering it to young people in isolated rural areas outside Lospalos town. Donations to support the program are welcome here

Previous activities in the Youth Arts Program include Zumba dance classes, a creative writing program and arts therapy and collaborations with visiting artists.

Zumba dance classes: Two local women already engaged in traditional dance received instructor training in the more contemporary dance/fitness practice of Zumba. This lively dance-exercise program is offered in the capital, Dili and has been very popular with Timorese, especially women. The Zumba Dili team provided a training program for Khey Gandara from Lospalos to train her in the skills equired to lead her own program. Khey was successful in establishing a lively program, attended by up to 50 girls and women four evenings a week. By charging a small fee to participants. Khey was able to generate a small income from the program which enables her to live in the District and share her skills. She also offered young women a mentored leadership program to support her. Unfortunately, this program has been in abeyance while Government staff were unsure if Zumba is appropriate for the enjoyment of the women of Lautem. 

Creative writing project: In 2015, MHI was able to offer twenty young people in Lospalos the opportunity to develop expertise in creative writing and share stories with each other. Hai Nia Istoria (This is my story) writing project was developed by Emily Lush, a Masters student from the University of Queensland, Australia, working in collaboration with MHI staff, including Youth Arts Officer Cornelio de Jesus Baptista and Nelson Diana da Costa. Find out more here.

Art therapy project: In February and March 2015, an arts therapy program was offered for young people aged 13-19 at the Lospalos Cultural Centre, led by Australian volunteer Karma Barnes and MHI staff member Nelson Diana da Costal.  Karma encouraged participants to develop their aspirations through creative processes and find personal meaning and reflection through art making. Find out more here

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