MUTPROBE in bewegten Bildern (2019 Summer)

The project „MUTPROBE in bewegten Bildern!" ("Bravery In Moving Pictures!") provided creative-practical experiences in the perception of children's and women's rights as an examination of the possibilities of involvement and participation. The project for about 10 girls and younger women between the ages of 9 and 16 had the goal of consciously activating diverse processes for self-discovery through physical exercise and artistic expression in order to build up psychological resistance, self-esteem and team spirit, to transform negative feelings into positive emotions and to train one's own self-esteem in DOING things together.

In the context of the social commitment, which underpins the vision of the OSTRALE, we decided to develop the project with the young women of the refugee centre in the Hamburger Straße Dresden, because the multiculturalism of the group could trigger an interesting exchange around the concept of femininity.

In addition, the MUTPROBE project has become part of the OSTRALE Bienniale O19, which this year has initiated an international artist in residence program "WomanIsm" with artists from Germany and Africa. Against this background the OSTRALE wanted to pursue its social goals by facilitating an exchange between the young group of the participants and these strong female professionals in the art field.

The project was divided into 3 phases and consisted of various activities, all aimed at stimulating critical reflection on the theme of femininity among young girls in the context of the OSTRALE Biennale O19.

Guided tour in the Goethe Institute, 12. June 2019

The first meeting took place at the Goethe Institute Dresden, one of the exhibition venues of the OSTRALE Biennale O19. As a place of cultural exchange and prestigious language school, the OSTRALE has found the Goethe Institute to be the perfect place to initiate a dialogue on contemporary art and femininity with the young group.

The participants, together with some members of the Womanism Project such as the Kenyan curator Syowia Kyambi and the German artists Carolin Koss and Ramona Seyfarth, were introduced to a variety of contemporary art works dealing with different themes. Some of the works examine existing gender issues and condemn the previously defined role of women in society. This controversial content was conveyed to the participants and the artists primarily through educational games, which implied an examination of the artwork and a self-reflection on the meaning behind it. In this way, the group had the opportunity to talk about the work of feminist artists, which unfolds its challenges and implications.

Creative Workshop at the OSTRALE-Atelier (Messe), 24. June 2019

The second phase of the MUTPROBE project revolved around a creative workshop. This took place in the OSTRALE Atelier in the Messe under the direction of an artistic mediator and again another artist from the WomanIsm project: Janice Iche from Kenya. The first phase consisted of an interactive drawing session in which the participants drew female figures together. This was the first input, which eventually led to a reflection on female role models, beauty ideals, self-confidence, shortcomings and advantages of being a woman, based on the drawings the girls produced.

The discussion laid the foundation for the highlight of the meeting: the painting workshop. In the atelier, OSTRALE provided painting materials, canvases, pencils, catalogues, paper etc., so that the participants could express their emotions creatively and activate various processes of self-discovery. This creative workshop was inspired by the girls' previous dialogue with the Kenyan artist and revolved around 3 questions that were discussed in detail: What kind of woman do you want to be? Who is your role model? What are the strengths and weaknesses of today's girls?

Guided tour at the OSTRALE Biennale O19, 02. August 2019

The last meeting with the young girls took place at the Historical Cigarette Factory F6 in Dresden, the core location of the OSTRALE Biennale O19. The group examined an interesting selection from the large exhibition of contemporary art and again reflected on the importance of many controversial artworks. The selection of artists presented to the participants was based on themes that explore the concept of body perception, race, freedom, motherhood, domesticity, sense of belonging and boundaries.

This experience included not only an active discussion about the biographies of the artists, but also the discovery of a wide range of artworks such as sculptures, paintings, installations and video productions, as well as a physical exploration of some artworks that could be touched and experienced with all five senses.

Funded by the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (German Children's Charity)