The 7th Floor Atelier

Today is artist Chiara Mosciatti’s last day in Athens. She has spent 1 month working on an artistic project with children living at City Plaza. Room 715 on the 7th floor has been her ‘atelier’ for 4 weeks.

3 words to describe your experience at plaza:

Intense, enriching, joyous

What have you found to be an important part of day to day life at City Plaza?

Language. City Plaza is a 7 floors Tower of Babel. The residents here speak English, Greek, Farsi, Urdu, Arabic and Turkish. Language is a huge part of day to day life. And, as soon as they move abroad, they will be asked to learn even another language. Knowing many languages is a passport of freedom, but in the visual era, it may be not enough to face the umpteenth cultural shock.

How has language influenced your painting workshops with the children here?

Art is a universal tool of communication, able to overcome any linguistic fence and kids are naturally sensitive to art and available to express themselves through irrational representations.

How have children engaged with using paint on canvas?

I understand that art is a luxury, that in some ways it is the last in the list of their needs in these time. But, so many children have huge creative potential. As an artist, I wanted to boost their creativity in order to produce big size paintings.

‘Colour Battle’ workshop yesterday

The children creating something important and productive, creating an art work, this can give them a kind of immediate discipline and self-control. When the painting is done, they are amazed by their own abilities. This is a strong build-up for their psychological well-being.

Chiara’s ‘atelier’

It is amazing to watch them paint. They take it really seriously. I watched them find an impressive sense of self-control. When they finish it’s so uplifting to see their sense of pride in what they have achieved.

Are there any moments you have shared with residents here that have been particularly Moving?

I did an experiment of story-telling. Aside from giving workshops I am producing my own collection of paintings, for a personal exhibition in Amsterdam. My paintings talk about long and difficult journeys, explosions, sinking boats, falling people. Once I asked Asra (12 years old) to pick her favorite painting and to tell me what was happening in the image. She overturned the perspective. She saw men falling from floating boats and landing into offices, she saw people leaving tiny rooms, she saw people flying away to far away moons.

Why is solidarity with plaza from around the world important?

Plaza is a real Utopia. Here it is possible to overcome the contemporary frustration caused by the social fragmentation and conscience’s blindness. Supporting the City plaza project means shaping the present with the most powerful political and economical tool: solidarity.

 

City Plaza relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world. For this project to continue and for City Plaza to remain open it needs your support. You can donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen

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