La donna congolese

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Di Francesca Volpi

MARCIA MONDIALE DELLE DONNE – Ottobre 2010 – DRC

 “Finché tutte le donne del mondo non saranno libere, noi marceremo”. Questo lo slogan delle circa 3000 donne che sono scese in strada per partecipare alla Marcia Mondiale delle Donne che si è tenuta domenica a Bukavu, capitale della regione del Sud Kivu, provincia orientale della Repubblica Democratica del Congo, a pochi chilometri dal Rwanda.

Uno sfogo quello delle donne Congolesi e di tutto il mondo che arriva proprio qualche settimana dopo casi di stupri di massa riportati nelle zone limitrofe a Bukavu, e nella zona di Walikale a pochi chilometri dalla base delle Nazioni Unite, dove 303 civili, di cui 235 donne, 13 uomini, 52 bambine e tre bambini sono stati violentati da ribelli Rwandesi e soldati dello stesso esercito governativo Congolese.

La marcia è stato l’evento conclusivo di quattro giorni di incontri e dibattiti con l’obiettivo di attirare l’attenzione internazionale su una zona del mondo martoriata da 15 anni di guerra civile e che detiene il primato per la particolare atrocità ed il numero di violenze contro le donne.

Gli incontri sono stati promossi dall’organizzazione Marcia Mondiale delle Donne – una rete internazionale femminista che riunisce oltre 6000 associazioni presenti in più di 150 paesi e che si propone di lottare contro la disuguaglianza sociale, l’oppressione di genere, il razzismo , la violenza sulle donne e l’omofobia. “E’ importante venire qui, dove la violenza sulle donne è sistematicamente usata come arma di guerra” dice Miriam Nombre, organizzatrice della marcia.

La terza azione internazionale della Marcia Mondiale delle Donne, a cui hanno preso parte attiva portando la loro testimonianza delegazioni provenienti da 42 paese diversi – è stata organizzata insieme a gruppi femminili locali con l’obbiettivo di combattere la violenza contro le donne e mostrare solidarietà con le vittime di stupro.

Specialmente nell’est del Congo – dove si trova la Regione dei Grandi Laghi, etichettata dalle Nazioni Unite e da varie organizzazioni per i diritti umani come ‘la capitale mondiale dello stupro’ – dove sono avvenuti 9,000 dei circa 17,000 casi di violenza sessuale durante lo scorso anno, documentati dalla “MONUSCO” la missione delle Nazioni Unite sul suolo della Repubblica Democratica del Congo.

Pace e demilitarizzazione,è questo il tema centrale degli incontri, dove si è discusso delle cause e conseguenze delle violenze sulle donne e denunciato il ruolo sociale e politico attribuito alla donna nella Repubblica Democratica del Congo. “Lo stupro è utilizzato come arma di guerra per distruggere la figura della donna che è la colonna portante della vita della società Congolese. La presenza di bande armante nel Kivu per via delle risorse minerali fa si che la donna si trovi in constante pericolo” ha spiegato Mathilde Muhindo, direttrice di un’organizzazione della diocesi di Bukavu  a sostegno delle donne – il Centro Olame, che in lingua locale Mashi, significa “che la vita sia prospera”.

In una società dove la poligamia è molto praticata, la donna Congolese deve occuparsi del mantenimento della famiglia e procurasi i soldi per sopravvivere, ed è cosi costretta a camminare per cinque o dieci chilometri al giorno, piegata sotto il peso di sacchi da 40 kg, per guadagnare un dollaro o meno al giorno al fine di sfamare gli otto-dieci figli a casa.

Pace e demilitarizzazione – un messaggio forte contro la stigmatizzazione delle vittime di stupro che vengono emarginate socialmente ed economicamente e contro l’impunità dei colpevoli di massacri e violenze. Le organizzatrici della Marcia Mondiale delle Donne denunciano un sistema di milizie indisciplinate che usano lo stupro come strumento di sfogo delle rabbia e sottomissione con fine il saccheggio. “Il nostro cuore soffre, perché ci violentate” cantano alcune donne sopravvissute ad episodi di stupro che hanno lasciato l’ospedale di Panzi per prendere parte alla marcia. Tra il fiume di donne che danno voce al loro dolore compaiono striscioni con scritte ‘no alla violenza ed all’impunità. No al terrorismo sessuale.’

“E’ un evento straordinario il fatto che le donne Congolesi abbiamo avuto la forza e la possibilità di esprimere il loro pensiero ed il loro dolore, superando la paura. Stanno vivendo un momento di rivendicazione del ruolo della donna, simile ai movimenti che noi occidentali abbiamo vissuto durante gli anni ’70” dice Suor Giuliana Fadani, suora bresciana che lavora a Bukavu dal 1991.

Intanto gli stupri  ed i soprusi continuano in alcune zone del paese dove gruppi armati di ribelli si aggirano senza essere contrastati da milizie governative che dovrebbero proteggere la popolazione civile. Le ragazze giovani vengono mandate dai genitori nelle grandi città per paura di quel che potrebbero subire e le popolazioni dei villaggi interni ancora sono costrette ad abbandonare le loro case per dormire nella foresta, per paura di attacchi e saccheggi indiscriminati da parte di militari mal pagati che vanno a cercare la loro ricompensa nelle case della povera gente. La realtà visibile sul territorio è ancora complessa e la sanguinosa guerra nella Regione dei Grandi Laghi è solo apparentemente conclusa.

LE ATROCITA’ DELLA GUERRA

Sabato 17 Ottobre 2010 – il giorno precedente la marcia conclusiva , la Marcia Mondiale delle Donne ha organizzato un viaggio di visita a Mwenga, zona a sud est di Bukavu – dove si sono verificati due dei più agghiaccianti tra gli abusi di potere, ormai troppi per essere contati.

La strada che porta a Mwenga un tempo era difficilmente accessibile con la macchina, ed il territorio, tutt’oggi ricco di minerali, era controllato da vari gruppi armati e difficilmente raggiungibile dalle autorità. Negli ultimi due anni la strada è decisamente migliorata grazie ad una compagnia Cinese che ha ricevuto l’appalto dallo stato Congolese. Ci impieghiamo comunque cinque ore per percorrere i 140 Km che separano Bukavu da Mwenga.

Sulla strada in corrispondenza dei villaggi incontriamo vari gruppi di donne che stanno sul ciglio della  strada – a volte invadendola – con striscioni, cantando e ballando per dare il benvenuto al convoglio della Marcia Mondiale delle Donne scortato da alcuni militari delle Nazioni Unite. I bambini guardano la fila di jeep bianche un po’ come noi guardiamo sfilare le auto delle Mille Miglia, con l’unica differenza che nessuno allunga la mano chiedendo cibo , soldi o una coca-cola, come a reclamare qualcosa che era stato promesso.

La prima sosta è nella località di Kasika, dove nell’agosto del 1998, i guerriglieri armati  dell’RCD (Raggruppamento Congolese per la Democrazia sostenuti da Ruanda ed Uganda) attaccarono – durante la messa – la chiesa cattolica di Kasika e massacrato a colpi di macete 37 civili, un prete, tre suore e vari parrocchiani. Una delle suore, dopo che i guerriglieri non riuscirono a violentarla – fu appesa ad un albero e squartata mentre i corpi dei bambini furono gettati nelle latrine. Una suora presente durante la visita riporta cosi la vicenda: “Erano in chiesa, ad un certo punto due soldati entrarono ed in Rwandese si dissero ‘falli fuori tutti.’ Il prete capì quello che si dissero in rwandese e nella lingua locale incomprensibile ai guerriglieri disse ai presenti ‘chi di voi è pronto a morire rimanga, gli altri fuggano.’ Alcuni riuscirono a scappare, altri furono catturati ed uccisi.”

Una delle suore riuscite a sfuggire è con noi  in quel luogo per la prima volta dal massacro e  si commuove ricordando quei tragici momenti – mentre riprendiamo la dissestata strada verso la nostra destinazione.

La seconda visita è alla località di Mwenga dove nell’ottobre del 1999, 14 tra donne-mamme-ragazze ed un uomo furono sotterrati vivi in una fossa comune, dopo aver subito violenze sessuali e torture, perché accusati di stregoneria. Parroco di Mwenga al tempo era il bresciano don Giuseppe Davo – che vista la situazione, condusse la popolazione del villaggio nella foresta, dove rimase nascosto per due mesi assieme a molti civili.

SUORE DOROTEE IN CONGO

 Le suore dorotee di Cemmo della missione di Cimpunda, sulle colline della città di Bukavu, festeggiano quest’anno i loro 25 anni di presenza nella Repubblica Democratica del Congo.

Da anni si impegnano per il recupero della dignità delle giovani donne Congolesi. Seguendo il carisma della fondatrice Madre Annunciata Cocchetti, all’inizio si sono occupate delle ragazze madri offrendo loro la possibilità di imparare un mestiere ed in seguito dell’educazione soprattutto delle ragazze per dare la possibilità di leggere e scrivere anche a coloro che non hanno mai avuto questa possibilità.

Nella missione operano un totale di otto suore, due Burundesi, quattro Congolesi e due suore Bresciane – Suor Giuliana Fadani e Suor Ferruccia Barezzani.

Ciascuna delle suore è impegnata sia a livello pastorale, sia nella scuola con il fine di animare le ragazze a livello cristiano ed umano per una formazione integrale della persone.

Le suore, coordinate da Suor Giuliana Fadani –sono attive nell’ambito sanitario e nutrizionale, e gestiscono una scuola con 1400 tra bambini bambine, ragazzi e ragazze distribuiti tra materna, elementari, medie e superiori.

Nel centro nutrizionale e nel centro sanitario, gestiti da suor Ferruccia, presente in Africa dal 1977, si occupano della donna per quanto riguarda la prevenzione delle malattie e la malnutrizione dei bambini, portando così un aiuto concreto all’interno delle famiglie.

Sempre a Bukavu, nella zona di Ibanda sono stanziate altre suore dorotee impegnate in attività di alfabetizzazione della donna e assistenza medica, tramite la presenza di suore all’ospedale generale di Bukavu, dove lavora l’argentina Suor Elena e la congolese Suor Annuarita. Della comunità fa parte anche la bresciana suor Patrizia Mondini presente in Africa da 40 anni – e che ora si occupa delle adozioni a distanza di oltre 200 bambini congolesi.

Le suore bresciane spinte da grande fede, determinazione e coraggio, sono rimaste a Bukavu durante tutti gli anni della guerra – diventando cosi testimoni dirette (e per qualcuno scomode) della drammaticità e crudeltà del conflitto nella Regione del Grandi Laghi.

Three UAL graduates in national art final

February 24, 2010 1 comment

by Francesca Volpi and Colin B Robertson

Three UAL alumni have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Catlin Art Prize that recognizes the talents of graduates from all UK art schools.

David Smith (Chelsea), Sonny Sanjay Vadgama (Central Saint Martins) and Adam Dix (Wimbledon) are among the eight shortlisted candidates for the fourth edition of the prize.

The chosen artists will hold a group show from May 14 to 23 at the Village Underground in Shoreditch.

An overall winner will be chosen to receive £3,000.

The prize, sponsored by insurance specialists Catlin Group, is an annual showcase for graduates, one year on from their degree exhibitions.

‘Amazing’

Adam Dix, MA Painting graduate, came to do his degree late, previously studying graphic design and illustration 17 years ago.

He describes himself as a Londoner, born and bred.

On reaching the final he said: “It’s great to be included in such a strong and diverse group of artists. Winning would be a bonus but this is a great platform for the artist – I’m focusing on producing a great body of work.”

David Smith, MA Fine Art graduate, told ALN: “It is amazing to be a finalist, being shortlisted alone is a privilege as I know that the other finalists in the prize are highly talented.”

“I wasn’t sure what would happen after my MA,” he continued, “despite all the training you receive, you can never really tell how easy it will be to keep making work when you leave college and the practicalities of day-to-day life take hold.”

“The Catlin Prize has given me the encouragement and opportunity to work towards something exciting and to generate a new body of work to exhibit. I have met some really interesting artists and curators because of the prize.”

“The venue for the Catlin prize, the Village Underground, is a great venue to exhibit in so I am really looking forward to May.”

Catlin Guide

This year, for the first time, The Catlin Guide has been published.

Dubbed “the only guide to emerging art in the UK”, it features an introduction to the 40 most promising graduate artists in the UK, as recommended by curators, collectors and course tutors.

Art dealer and writer, Justin Hammond, curator for the prize, said: “People wanted to know how the artists were being selected. The guide makes that more clear, alongside our website.”

Previous years exhibitions have attracted collecters such as Kay Saatchi and David Roberts.

Hammond commented: “It is a good show for collecters to come down and see the best emerging artists in the UK”.

The guide has proved to be successful in promoting the competition. He added: “A huge amount of artists have been contacted and sold work already.”

Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, BA Fine Art graduate states in the guide: “Technical innovation is important for me in 2010. I am currently experimenting with large-scale graphical projections on city walls and plan to visit Palestine in February to explore the avenue further.”

Last year five out of the six finalists were from UAL.

Sarah Lederman, Chelsea graduate, 2008, won the final.

She told ALN: “The Catlin prize was an amazing experience. Winning the prize has not only increased my confidence in myself but also the interest in my works. Also, the money allowed me to continue to be a full time artist without having to take a second job.”

Chelsea graduate gains sculptures recognition

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Former Chelsea College of Art student, James Capper, has had his graduation sculpture work made a part of the Cass Sculpture Foundation.

A charity dedicated to commissioning twenty-first century British sculpture, the Foundation has also announced the launching of a £10,000 art prize, in collaboration with the University of the Arts London.

Capper’s sculpture The Ripper – an industrial, crane-like structure – is included in the collection, which counts among others, works by Chelsea graduate, Anish Kapoor.

Previously exhibited in Bold Tendencies – the Hannah Barry Gallery’s annual exhibition of outdoor sculpture – on the top floor of a four-storey car par in Peckham, Capper’s work has found a new home at Goodwood, in the Foundation’s 26-acre grounds in West Sussex.

Shaping Culture

This year, the Cass Sculpture Foundation and Cass Art, along with the University of the Arts, have also developed the Cass Prize, an MA Sculpture prize to be awarded to a graduating MA student from UAL.

The first annual Cass Prize of £10,000 allocates £8,000 towards the commissioning of the winning work submission and a cash prize of £2,000 for the winning artist.

The selected winning work will be installed on the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at the Chelsea College in Autumn 2010 and featured as part of the University’s Shaping Sculpture programme.

The work will be then displayed on the Cass Sculpture Foundation’s grounds as one of its commissioned works for sale.

Mark Dunhill, Dean of Fine Art, Central Saint Martins and David Garcia, Dean of Chelsea College of Art and Design, will be part of the selection committee.

The deadline for applications is March 29, 2010.

CCW model not flawed say Deans

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

by Maddalena Dottori and Francesca Volpi

The deans of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon (CCW) colleges have said they strongly disagree that the three-college CCW model is flawed.

Natalie Brett from Camberwell, David Garcia from Chelsea, and George Blacklock from Wimbledon spoke in support of the centralised administration model – responding to the claims made by staff in 2009 that the CCW structure is not working.

Reaffirming that a collaborative partnership between the three institutions has been successful, Wimbledon dean Blacklock said: “Like any collective, together we can be stronger, divided we are more vulnerable”.

He believes CCW has offered Wimbledon extra visibility and more influence, aiding its bidding for resources both internally and externally to the university.

Letter to the Rector

In December Ron Todd, the University and College Union (UCU) negotiating officer for the University of the Arts London (UAL) – asked in a letter to Nigel Carrington, UAL’s rector, why one head of the three colleges was necessary rather than a co-operative model between three existing deans.

In this regard, Chelsea’s dean, David Garcia says: “Making a truly collaborative partnership between three institutions – who prize their different traditions – is a highly complex challenge. This cannot be achieved without leadership. For this, a head of college is necessary.”

The deans all agree that the CCW structure – which has been operated for nearly two years – has reduced duplication and created economies of scale.

Dean Blacklock commented that the model was “delivering economies with a lighter touch” than other educational institutions in the current economical climate.

Currently, there is just one marketing prospectus, as opposed to three.

Camberwell’s dean, Natalie Brett, said: “These are particularly good practices as the student reps can find out what happens in the other colleges and there is a much clearer parity of student experience developing.”

Back in December, Richard Osborne, chairman of the UCU’s UAL branch, suggested a group of selected staff should be designated to develop co-operation between the three colleges and to encourage them to develop new units.

Brett said: “Jim Pearson, the elective coordinator at Camberwell, has been asked to scope electives to run across the three colleges, while CCW Grad School has created many opportunities for academics and researchers to work together across CCW.

“We are developing new courses that will run across all three Colleges.”

Identity

The deans have also moved reassure staff and students that every college tradition and distinctive identity will continue to be upheld.

Garcia confirmed: “Traditions and values are vital but we should guard against institutional nostalgia whose default position is that change always erodes tradition.

“We have moved from an era of art schools into one in which we are colleges in a University of the Arts.

“This transition will test our traditions and values but we see this as an opportunity for renewal. It may not always be easy but it is no bad thing.”

Chelsea art event raises funds for degree show

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

An event to raise money for an Art Degree Show has been held at the SU Bar at the Chelsea College last Thursday.

‘The Chelsea Girls’ – a group of five third year students at the Chelsea College – hosted the event called ‘A night with the Chelsea Girls’ – to raise money to fund the final year BA Fine Art Degree show.

Mary Beth Morossa, member of Chelsea Girls group, said: “We are thrilled at the response to our night. It was a brilliant success.”

The bar was packed and the night included live poetry, cabaret and music, with the live performance of Viv Albertine of The Slits.

Yolande Burgin, another member of Chelsea Girls group said:  “With cakes and cocktails, and vintage clothes on sale we managed to raise over £260 that will go towards extras needed by Chelsea students for the degree show.”

The money raised will go to the Degree Show fund and will be used – among other things – for the catalogue for the show, provisions for the private view and supplies for the construction of the show.

Susan Casella BA Product Design student from CSM said: “” I had a really good time and a lovely piece of cake. I think it’s a great initiative to raise funds for the degree show, and a good opportunity to meet new people. I loved it.”

The Chelsea Girls define themselves as “ a women’s art collective, whose practice involve issues of gender, sex and sexuality, and who reject the ugly way women are stereotyped.”

Yolande Burgin, Rosemary Cronin, Steph Dickinson, Mary Beth Morossa and Lillian Suwanrumpha – all students at the Chelsea College, formed the group in 2009 – when they decided to put together their beliefs and passions and give themselves a platform to be heard.

They meet regularly and organize events, actions, interventions and exhibitions – to get their beliefs, concerns and hopes aired to a wider audience.

They say: “We believe that there is a lot to be answered for about the portrayal of women in the media, and how this is affecting us and our attitudes to self esteem and self worth.”

Yolande added: “We intend the collective to continue way past our time as full time students at Chelsea. We aim to investigate, demonstrate, inform and express ourselves in all sorts of ways.”

During the night the group also launched the first issue of their zine – which will be published quarterly.

‘A Night In With The Chelsea Girls’ was the first event of that kind –and there are plans for a follow up event in the next term.

More info, alongside the zine and a manifesto can be found on the website: chelseagirlsarts.com

Be a Green Designer

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Emerging artists and designers can make a difference through their design practice and should use their creativity abilities at the service of environmentally conscious design.

This issue has been discussed last Thursday at the Chelsea College, in occasion of the lecture ‘Be a green designer’, held as part of the Go Green Week, launched by UAL to raise awareness of green issues on campus.

Speakers included recent CSM graduates Paul Thurston – head of Think Public – and Jason Allcorn, Creative Director of [Re]design. Alongside Amelia Gregory – artist, designer, activist and publisher of ‘Amelia’s Magazine’.

How can design be applied to social and cultural issues? Growing global concerns about environmental problems such as climate change and pollution make sustainable design the road that takes to the future of design and new graduates should take this philosophy on board.

Gregory said:” “We have to be sustainable – there really is no other option. I think we should make all design sustainable as quickly as possible.”

Paul Thurston, head of Think Public, an agency focused on using design to improve service experiences in the public sector, such as NHS and many others at local level.

He said:  “ Sustainable design isn’t a discipline in it’s own right, this makes it niche and therefore it will never have the impact it should. Sustainable design should be thought of as an approach rather than a separate discipline and embedded through all design work.”

Design it’ not only about creating things, but also engaging people and the strong growing concerns for the global environment should foster sustainability approaches for industries.

Finding the right paths to engage people is not always easy task. Amanda Gregory runs her own magazine, which features illustrative images and painting on environment issues.

She is also an activist and worked on lots of imagery and graphic design for Climate Camp at the G20 last year. She also launched a competition to re-design the Royal bank of Scotland logo, for sustainability. The winner was Mithi Shafiq, a former scientist who moved to illustrative design, thinking it could better help the environment cause.

Gregory believes that scientists and artists are not so different and artists helping scientists to better visualize their ideas.

She says: “I think that both think creatively in their work. To dream up great inventions, you have to be creative. Maybe scientists could best be described as creative thinkers, whilst on the whole artists think much more visually. In this way they can help each other.”

In conclusion, sustainable design seems appealing, however for recent graduates the problems remains always the same.

Jenny Espirito Santo, Fda Interior Design student at the LCC said: “ The lecture was really helpful in terms of new ideas. But if you need to design something you will need the funds for it. I wanted to know how to start off and make a different, but I still don’t know the answer for that.”

FOR MORE INFO VISIT:

Think Public

www.redesigndesign.org

Amelia’s Magazine

Burberry Going Globally 3D with Runway Show

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Chelsea College of Art & Design will host the Burberry Autumn collection showcase – which is set to be streamed live in 3D around the globe  – as part of the London Fashion week.

The real show will take place at the Chelsea’s Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground in London on February 23 at 4pm.

Simultaneously, selected guests in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Dubai and Tokyo will be watching the catwalk show in customized screening spaces designed by Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey in collaboration with Sky TV.

Bailey said: “We are very excited to announce that we are hosting the first ever truly global fashion show.”

Burberry is coming back to the Chelsea College, after using the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground last year, for the Spring Summer 2010 womenswear catwalk show and the party that closed the 2009 London Fashion Week.

Sian Stirling, head of external relations for CCW, said : “We are delighted that Burberry have, yet again, chosen the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College as the venue for their show during February’s London Fashion Week.”

She added: “Chelsea College has a great track record of producing some of the leading designers from around the world and is therefore very pleased to be associated with one of UK’s great iconic design companies.”

Burberry is also the sponsor for the Chelsea College of Art and Design’s 2010 Textile Competition.

Breaking new grounds of dimension, Burberry will be streaming its upcoming fashion show in 3D at various invitation-only Burberry venues around the world.

Creative director, Christopher Bailey said: “We will be simultaneously live streaming our show using 3-D technology directly to New York, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo and L.A.

He added:  This unprecedented event will enable people to experience the energy and atmosphere of this event from around the world. 3D technology will bring our global audience into the London show space allowing them to see the colors and fabrics, to hear the music and to be a part of that moment when it all finally comes together”

Last year Burberry event at Chelsea College was attended by 1,200 people, among them, leading figures in fashion world including celebrities such as Emma Watson, Victoria Beckham, Janet Street Porter, Liv Tyler, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lord Mandelson.

As well as the actual catwalk bit, the 3D footage will include pre-show behind the scenes video, backstage footage and red carpet arrivals.

Burberry also plans to stream its show in 2-D on its website live.burberry.com for the people at home, who will also be able to comment on the show in real time using Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Burberry Prorsum Spring Summer 2010 Womenswear Show Highlights


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