Street art and street kids have a bit in common. Street art sits on the outer edge of the art world while street kids live on the fringes of society. Street art is often marginalised while street kids struggle to be heard. Street art has a point of view and street kids have something to say. Street art exists on the street, and heartbreakingly, this is where street kids live. But does that mean they know and understand each other? Should they necessarily get along? Can they find solace in one another? After all, they differ in three critical ways: street art gets noticed, has become increasingly valuable, and remains an inanimate object. While street kids are humans full of potential that are largely ignored and treated as worthless. That’s why next week is so important….
On Monday 20th, 12 Vietnamese street children will arrive in Singapore and meet members of the prominent street art collective, RSCLS. Over the course of three days they will experience the positive and nurturing effects of mentorship and learn street art techniques. They will collaborate and create, and the results will culminate in the staging of their very own art show at the Hilton Hotel. And we are invited to show our support. But this is not an experiment. This is not research. They will not be here to answer our questions. This is simply a chance for neglected children to restore themselves in some small way. Or to at least have some fun.
It’s difficult to estimate the significant number of homeless children in Vietnam. In many cases, poverty has forced these children onto the streets and into the path of individuals and networks that exploit them for their own means. So they remain hidden. Enter Michael Browsowski, CEO and Founder of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. After visiting Vietnam, Michael established the Blue Dragon charity to rescue children in crisis and provide shelter and advocacy to homeless kids. Next week he will bring some of these children to Singapore with the support of UWCSEA, Addicted Art Gallery and new Singapore artist network, Nüwa.
Says Michael, “I hope that through this event the kids will see that their talents and skills are recognised by people far from home, and will be encouraged to keep developing so that they can have opportunities on an international stage as they grow up. I also hope that they will have a fun week, make loads of friends, and create some memories that will keep them going no matter how hard life gets.”
Perhaps next week we will know more about how street art and street kids get along. But as we all gather at Hilton Hotel on Thursday evening to see the results of an artistic week for Blue Dragon, perhaps we’ll discover something more important – we can’t begin to know what a street child has been through, but we can certainly bear witness to them defying what has been taken from them and forging ahead to create something new for themselves.
For more information about the Blue Dragon Art Exhibition taking place at the Hilton Hotel on Thursday 23 November, please contact Addicted Art Gallery. You’re invited to experience street art, photography, hip hop, dancing, DJ skills and culinary delights, all created by children of the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. In collaboration with RSCLS, Nüwa, Hilton Hotel, and UWCSEA students.
(Written by Skye Wellington for Addicted Art Gallery)