In early 2019, Artolution’s art-making initiatives provided more than 1,100 youth in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement with an outlet for trauma and instilled hope for the future of their communities. We seek to ensure sustainable mural and film projects for our local team, Team Bidi Bidi (@bidibidi_artolution) in order continue to impact even more youth.
2019 Artolution Expands to Uganda
January | action in africa|nakuwadde
Artolution’s traveled to Nakuwadde, Uganda in January 2019 to team up with Action In Africa to bring home an emotional exchange mural that began in New York City, train local artists and paint every wall. The first mural to be adhered to the wall at The Center was created by more than 200 youth at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York City. It depicted Imran, a beloved student of The Center, who sadly passed away in a car accident just a few short months before the collaboration began in September. Imran’s mural was inspired by his dedication to education and the obstacles he overcame as a child with disabilities. Imran returned home and will remain at The Center to inspire students each day to achieve their education.
Artolution came to paint one wall at The Center. And, then we painted four, continuing until there was no more space left to paint. It was the work of a warm and strong community, whose art embodied local traditions and cultures, stories of ancestors and Africa, and the persistence of the community to educate their children and inspire them to pursue their dreams.
Artolution’s first Foundstrument Soundstrument, the “Africastrument”, was created at The Center. It is a musical sculpture made from found and recycled objects.The “Africastrument” was formed within two hands safely holding the continent. Our youth participants wanted to specifically express that “Mama Africa” supports all the people who live in it together.
bidi bidi refugee settlement
Artolution began working within the BidiBidi Refugee Settlement in early 2019 after an opportunity to emerge in late November 2018 through partner organizations Education Above All and UNHCR. The Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, located near Uganda’s northwest border with South Sudan, was established in 2016 to host a rapid influx of South Sudanese refugees. The population increased rapidly, until it was the largest refugee settlement in the world. According to UNHCR, as of June 2018, of the nearly 287,000 refugees who live in the settlement, more than 60% are under the age 17.
february | tuajiji primary school |windle international & unhcr
Co-Founder, Max Frieder, visited the Tuajiji Primary School (Zone 1), a school of nearly 3,000 youth, where he introduced Artolution’s global community and collaborative works of art. A team of 18 local artists were present to learn Artolution’s project implementation methodology and paint a single building.
When Max arrived at the school to tour its facilities, enthusiasm quickly spread and he led the first workshop on the spot! When the project was finished, the Bidi Bidi artist team, youth, and school teachers had painted 3 large-scale murals, 5 separate buildings, created Africa’s second Foundstrument Soundstrument, and engaged more than 400 students in the workshops and daily creative activities.
The “Elephantstrument” was constructed in one day. The choice to make it an elephant came from the issue of elephants becoming extinct in Uganda. Refugees of Bidi Bidi were passionate about transforming trash into a musical recycled sculpture to help us all reflect on the value of sustaining the Earth’s creatures and their homes.
march | alaba primary school |windle international & unhcr
Co-Founder, Joel Bergner, returned to the BidiBidi Refugee Settlement in March and focused on training nine of the original artists, a local program coordinator, and a lead facilitator in order to ensure the sustainability of Artolution in the region.
During his visit, the team and youth participants painted three large-scale murals, 4 buildings, and one wall at the Alaba Primary School (Zone 2), engaging 320 youth participants. A four-person film team was developed out of the passion of artistic youth and spontaneous workshops led by our visiting film crew from Kenya.
LXD (Legendary eXtraordinary Dancers)
Karla Jayne Thomas led a dance crew called LXD (Legendary eXtraordinary Dancers), all South Sudanese refugees, by expanding their repertoire with lessons in Samba and storytelling techniques to add narrative to their shows.
Team Bidi Bidi & The Future
With a team in place in the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement, our partners Education Above All sponsored an additional three months of work over the course of April, May, and June. During April 2019, Artolution’s Team BidiBidi completed their own independent mural project at the Luzira Bright View Primary School that impacted nearly 300 youth. Our film team received new equipment (laptop, tripond, and sound-boom) so they could start documenting the stories of Bidi Bidi’s youth, adults, and elders and then sharing a completed series of films at outdoor community film nights.
Newman’s Own Foundation
We are proud to announce Artolution has received a $20,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. The grant will support Artolution and Newman’s Own Collaborative Art Initiative: Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda.
Help drive a positive change around the globe! Here are four ways you can help continue our mission in Uganda and help refugees heal through art:
Create a fundraising page on Facebook to help Artolution continue our mission of providing assistance to displaced individuals through art. It takes under 1 minute to create and share with your Facebook followers.
Donate to Artolution below to help fund our upcoming 2019 projects including new projects in Africa and South America!
Follow Artolution’s social media accounts to spread the news about Artolution! Our accounts feature photos of our projects and glimpses into the lives of the people from around the world!
Ask your company to match your donation or fundraiser! For each of our events and projects, we have many unique opportunities for collaboration and sponsorship. Please contact our events team to find out how your organization can participate.