Art and peace-building
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Teacher’s Studio

Teacher’s Studio is a series of three workshops for those people in East Abkhazia¹ who work or plan to work with children and young people in the field of visual arts. In addition to art teachers and art students, it also addresses employees of NGOs active in the field of child and youth work.

This project was prompted by the observation that there are very few artistic (leisure) activities for children and young people in Abkhazia and that those that do exist rely on very modest art material and scarce spatial, and educational resources. The range on offer is limited because, on the one hand, there is a lack of financial means and, on the other hand, because there has been hardly any international exchange since the 1991–1993 war, and very little information about innovative art projects with children and young people has penetrated into the cities and villages of Abkhazia.

The Teacher’s Studio aims to promote artistic leisure activities for children and young people in villages and small towns in Eastern Abkhazia and in particular to support and build on the network of people who are active in this field. It brings know-how and art material to this remote region and contributes to the development of a network of culturally active people.

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Gal/i 2016

1 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

2 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

3 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

4 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

5 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

6 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

7 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

8 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

9 Tech Studio G Frank Ellenberger

Photo: Frank Ellenberger

The third Teacher’s Studio once again dealt with screen printing and took place from 19. to 24. September 2016 in Gal/i, the easternmost city of Abkhazia¹. Twelve participants from the introductory screen-printing course in January 2016 in Ochamchyra participated a second time in order to consolidate their knowledge and to deal with more advanced technical aspects of this printing technique.

In the workshop, the participants were introduced to various techniques in the different phases of the printing process – from the coating and washing of the screens, to the mixing of the inks and solvents. Then they organised three events in schools where they could pass on their knowledge. The participants from Gal/i and Kochora used these new skills over three afternoons in the secondary school in Kochora. The pupils were even able to expose their own templates at the end of the course. The participants from Ochamchyra gave a two-day workshop in the city’s boarding school, in which the pupils were able to design their own paper stencils and subsequently print their motifs on T-shirts they brought with them. The Swiss workshop leaders were able to take a backseat in the school workshops, as there were hardly any questions left to answer. The teachers of the art school in Gal/i have now decided to introduce screen-printing as a new subject at their school.

The screen-printing materials remained at three locations in Abkhazia: All participants of the Teacher’s Studio have access to the materials and are allowed to use it both for their own projects and for workshops. At the end of the Teacher’s Studio, the participants visited a professional screen-printing workshop in Sukhum/i. Its owner, Daur Gumba, offered to be available to them for any technical questions and reorders of material in the future.

Place and year
Gal/i, 2016

Artistic direction
Silas Heizmann
Fabian Pfeil

Project management
Sabine Jenni (artasfoundation)

Local coordination
Tsira Shubladze

Partner organisation
Kunstschule Gal/i, (Director Gulnara Kardava)

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for South Caucasus (SDC)

Otschamtschira 2016

1 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

2 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

3 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

4 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

5 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

6 Teach Studio O Constantin Gretsoff

Photo: Constantin Gretsoff

For the second Teacher’s Studio from 26. to 30. January 2016, approximately twenty art teachers and NGO staff from five surrounding villages, as well as art students from Sukhum/i and Gudauta, came to Ochamchyra (Eastern Abkhazia¹). This time it was based on an introduction to screen printing techniques.

Under the guidance of Silas Heizmann and Fabian Pfeil, the participants gained an insight into the various steps and started with techniques that were easy to implement: from printing with cut-out stencils through to drawing directly on the screens to exposing templates. Instead of using UV lamps, which could not be procured on site, construction spotlights were used, and even sunlight in the case of a power failure. Printing was done primarily on paper, but to everyone’s delight also on T-shirts. The technology was well received and at the end, the participants organised a small exhibition of the works.

As in the first Teacher’s Studio half a year before, the participants stayed together in a hotel. In the evenings they discussed how the technology could be used in schools in Abkhazia. It became clear that more know-how and experience would be needed to teach the screen-printing technique in art classes.

Place and year
Ochamchyra, 2016

Artistic direction
Silas Heizmann
Fabian Pfeil

Project management
Sabine Jenni (artasfoundation)

Local coordination
Selma Zantarya

Partner organisation
Ochamchyra Youth House (Director Selma Zantarya)

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Otschamtschira 2015

1 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

2 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

3 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

4 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

5 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

6 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

7 Ganz Monney Jenni Reichert

Photos: Iris Ganz, Evelyne Monney, Sabine Jenni, Dagmar Reichert

The first Teacher’s Studio took place from 2. to 11. September 2015 in Ochamchyra, a small coastal town on the Black Sea. Twenty art teachers and NGO staff from five villages and cities in Eastern Abkhazia¹ took part in this workshop on methods and approaches for modern art teaching, they shared information on the situation in their communities and organisations and reflected on possible future cooperations.

During this first Teacher’s Studio, the Basel art teachers Iris Ganz and Evelyne Monney ran a drawing workshop. It included numerous individual and group exercises that could be used in art projects with children and young people. The work was undertaken indoors and outdoors, in pencil, watercolour, gouache, ink and felt-tip pens, utilising photos and various papers that had been brought along. In addition to this, the participants took part in group discussions on how they could design future art projects with children and young people in their communities and in collaboration with each other.

The workshop was very well received. Even though some of the participants had never used special methods for teaching drawing before, they all got involved in the experiment and discovered new potential in themselves and in others. In the concluding discussion, it turned out that there was a great need for material, financial assistance and further education. In the end, all participants received material that will allow them to carry out the exercises in their schools and organisations with children and young people. In the months following the workshop, most participants were to try out the new exercises with the children and young people in their schools and organisations.

Place and year
Ochamchyra, 2015

Artistic direction
Iris Ganz
Evelyne Monney

Project management
Sabine Jenni (artasfoundation)

Local coordination
Selma Zantarya

Partner organisation
Ochamchyra Youth House (Director, Selma Zantarya)

Financial contribution
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Material donations
Caran d’Ache
Lachenmeier Farben

¹artasfoundation would like to underline that its use of names and titles particularly in regards to conflict regions should not be understood as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever.