There are a lot of things I love doing – but the best of them all involve spending time with my daughter. I really enjoy getting to show her the world, and helping her understand it – and talking with her about how we can be a part of making it a better place.
One of the things she really enjoys doing is drawing and being creative: a number of her works feature in my office space at work. Her view of my life always makes me laugh – and helps me keep things in perspective. But there’s more to it than that – more to being creative than that. One of the things that artists and creative people do is to interpret the world that they see – and inspire the people around them with what they create.
Last year Tearfund started organising Creative Trips, sending teams of creative people who use their gifts to offer workshops on everything from dance lessons to crocheting in rural communities in East Africa. As one of my colleagues said – we really love that creativity can be used as a means to connect with communities and learn from their cultures as well as sharing new skills with one another.
My hope is that my daughter will grow to understand this as she gets older, and carry on creating things, building relationships and exploring the world in this way. So I’m really excited that this month I’m going to get to take her to an exhibition of art created by the team that went on Tearfund’s creative trip to Malawi last year.
The exhibition is called Onani – which means ‘homemade’ in Malawian and the exhibition is all about celebrating the heart of Africa, its beauty and people. This is the first of its kind and will be displaying work of artists ranging from 18 years of age to 68. The exhibition is showcasing a wide range of art from beautiful fine art oil paintings, to stunning photographs and contemporary art based on mosquito nets. Artists are using their overseas experience to raise awareness of life in East Africa within London.’ – I’ve had a sneak preview, and the work is amazing.
Onani will be held at Café 101, in The Salvation Army International Headquarters, 101 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4EH. The opening hours are from 8am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, from 20 January to 17th February (and it’s free!). I really recommend dropping by to see it.