Last Saturday 23rd June Sandblast, with the support of the V&A Museum and in an event linked to Refugee Week, put together 'Out of the Sand - We are Saharawi', a sensational Saharawi arts and culture day at the Sackler's Centre of the museum. The event run from midday until approximately 4.30pm, and involved music, film, talk and a jewellery making workshop.
MUSIC: EL ANDALUZ
|El Andaluz at the V&A Sackler's Centre|
FILM: BEAT OF DISTANT HEARTS
|Umm Deleila, Saharawi singer |
featured in Beat of Distant Hearts
Danielle Smith, filmmaker, photographer, anthropologist and Sandblast Founding Director, travelled to the Saharawi refugee camps for the first time in 1991. From the very beginning her imagination was captured by the inspiring Saharawi culture and the powerful role the arts, especially the music and poetry, but also the newly developed painting style, had played during the revolution and the 16 years of war (1975-1991). She decided to film a documentary showcasing this part of the story and Beats of Distant Hearts, the Art of the Revolution in Western Sahara was born. Although filmed in 1996, it was not released until 2000. Twelve years later, the film is still relevant today as it shows how the Saharawi arts and culture continue to be the best way of reaching international audiences and raise awareness about the Saharawi situation. After the screening, there was a Q&A with the filmmaker.
JEWELLERY MAKING WORKSHOP
In 2007, French Florie Salnot, a design student from the London Metropolitan Art Media & Design was challenged by her professor to develop a design project that could benefit both a community and the environment. Inspired by a talk by Danielle Smith, she developed a unique craft technique using hot sand and plastic bottles, both available in the refugee camps, and taught it to twenty-one Saharawi women to re-discover an ancient tradition of creative expression of their cultural identity.
|Danielle shows us the thin strip of plastic|
she's cutting off a bottle. At the back,
Florie supervises another workshop attendant
The technique is the following: the plastic bottle is first painted and then cut into thin strips. After that, any type of pattern can be made by positioning nails into the holes of a nail board: the plastic strip is placed around the nails and the whole board is submerged into hot sand. The plastic strip reacts to the heat by shrinking to fit the nail drawing, and keeps its shape when removed. The piece of jewellery then requires a few last steps and fittings to become finished.