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I (acrylic on cardstock) by Ava Shorten, 12; published in Stone Soup September 2022

A note from Laura

Autumn greetings! I hope everyone is settling into the school year and finding some time for creative expression as the colors begin to change and the air turns crisp-at least that’s the scoop where I live in New England.

The students at Angelina Jolie primary school in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, are nearing the end of winter and the second dry season of the year. After years of intermittent pandemic lockdown, they have spent the last couple of months back in the classroom and furiously preparing for exams. As life returns to some form of normal and they make up for lost learning time in the classroom, there has not been much extra time for creative work. However, before exam preparation began, a few Stone Soup members had the opportunity to collaborate with students in Kakuma Camp through an exciting new Refugee Project initiative, the Half-Baked Art Exchange.

The Half-Baked Art Exchange was offered in collaboration with Refugee Project partnering organization, My Start Project, and in celebration of World Refugee Day 2022. Through participation in this workshop, Stone Soup students engaged with a piece of artwork created by a young person living in Kakuma Refugee Camp. They learned about what it means to be a refugee more generally as well as the specific elements of the lives of Kakuma Camp residents that inspired their artwork, such as environmental factors and various cultural practices. Participants in the workshop then added to this piece of artwork, seeking to highlight the work of the original artist and create a sense of visual dialogue between the two. Keep an eye on the Refugee Project website for a display of the collaborative artwork, the original piece and a statement by the collaborating artist. I look forward to offering this workshop again in addition to other Refugee Project initiatives over the course of the school year!

And if you’re looking for a fun creative project this weekend, take a leaf from this workshop and start with a piece of artwork or writing that already exists! You might take your inspiration from an old or new favorite-maybe something from the current issue of Stone Soup. Consider where the original artist or writer might be coming from, what may have influenced their work, and seek to engage with it by adding your own special touch. If you’re working with a piece of artwork, consider what medium would work best to enhance the original piece. If you’re working with a piece of writing, pay special attention to tone as you seek to create a sense of dialogue between your writing and the original. In all cases, consider how you might highlight, rather than overshadow the original piece. As always, if you’re excited by what you’ve produced, please submit it to us via Submittable or by clicking the button below!

Until next time,

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.


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