Creativity is a gift of life, one that everybody deserves.
As Ricky Lee Gordon of Colour Ikamva said whilst handing over a transformed Libala Primary School to the Headmaster – ’Creativity should be included in every aspect of our lives; home, work, relationships, learning.‘ I couldn’t agree more, whatever form it takes, a creative element makes for a better world.
Colour Ikamva were one of the GreenPop partners in Zambia this year. Headed by inspiring art activist Ricky Lee Gordon aka Freddy Sam and the lovely Megan King, they were joined by various volunteers during their three weeks there. Working with the Grade 8 pupils of Livingstone’s Libala Primary School, they brought about a complete change to the look and feel of the school’s grounds and classrooms.
Starting with creative conversations and planning, they moved outside to paint flowers, plants and birds on the walls, large elephant murals taking pride of place on either side of the school. Other groups worked with bunting and wallpaper or created stars, elephants and clouds from cardboard for mobile installations. Blackboards became blue, stripes broke monotony and volunteers and students embraced the project with generosity and enthusiasm.
On the last Friday in Zambia, there was a formal handing over to the Headmaster, displays of dance and a chance to walk through the classrooms admiring the work and talking to the individual students who had created on the project. I asked Megan for her thoughts on their time in Zambia:
‘Our experience working at Libala Primary School was unforgettable. As an organisation, we pushed our own boundaries of what is possible through a 3-week workshop designed with the assumption that creativity is an essential tool for self-knowledge. The results were five co-created murals and two radically transformed classrooms filled with artwork made from simple materials, paying tribute to the creativity and beauty of each of the 24 students in the programme. ‘I wish we could do this for the whole year,’ one student told me. So do I. Huge love to Greenpop for inviting us and all those we met for sharing the kindness of the Zambian spirit.’
For some background, Colour Ikamva was modelled on the non-profit organisation Ikamva Youth which focuses on the empowerment of youth. Through an expression of love and by working in disadvantaged schools, Ricky and Megan believe that they can inspire genius whilst creating environments that instil a sense of pride and possibility. A reimagining. And I saw this happen. The addition of colour touches the heart, brings to life passion and benefits all. I believe that they can encourage change in anybody.
What a pleasure to have met this talented couple and to have seen and felt first-hand the positive impact that they have on the children and people they work with.
** I had the pleasure of joining this project while volunteering with Greenpop in Livingstone, Zambia.