In September 2016, TALK.France was in Gennevilliers, in the suburbs of Paris for the first session of our “Street Talk” project. “Street Talk : Walls VS Walls” is an international youth encounter that gathers 24 youngsters from France, Germany, Albania and Kosovo around Street Art as a common language.
The project was initiated by TALK.France, in cooperation with ROSI France, le M.U.R., the National Youth Agency of Albania, the European College of Kosovo and the French-German Youth Office (OFAJ/DFJW). The project consist in 3 sessions, one in Paris, one in Tirana (Albania) and a final one in Berlin (Germany). During each session, the participants are lead to exchange and discover each other’s culture and background while attending different artistic workshops and discussions on the idea of Wall, as obstacle for freedom of movement but a democratic medium for freedom of speech. The ultimate goal of each session is to paint a wall (or more!) in each city of the program.
The first session of Street Talk has taken place from 10th to 16th of September 2016. The first participants arrived on the afternoon of the 10th, coming from Tirana, Pristina, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Marseille, Lille… After a session of getting to know each other on the morning of the 11th, our participants departed for Paris 13ème arrondissement for a Photo trip around the métro station “Nationale” to see the big mural masterpiece of some of the most talented Street Artists of the whole world : C215, Init, Obey, Pantone.. For this occasion, we gave to the participants some polaroid frames to play with while photographing the city in multinational teams.
On September 12th, the participants got the occasion to get to know each other better with an artistic language animation during which binational teams of two would draw a word from the other’s language and try to guess what it means, according to his own sensibility to the word : the way it is written, the way it sounds, what it resemble in another language.. Rapidly, the participants began to really enjoy the session and going further with the game, asking others to give them new words, in different languages as well. At the end of the game, each participant shared with the others their own results, which were mostly hilarious. On the afternoon of this day, we decided to give to the participants an evening free, as most of them were travelling for the first time to France and to Paris. Some of them went to see the most famous monuments of Paris, le Louvre, la Tour Eiffel while others decided to join another Tour of Paris in the “Paris of the Parisian youth” lead by the French participants.
On the 13th of September, our participants discussed together Freedom of Speech and Street Art during a presentation on “deconstructing symbols in graffiti” made by Eléonore from Talk-France. After that, two of the our most talented participants have taken the lead of workshops, sharing their art techniques with the other participants: Asu, from Marseille shared his calligraphy skills while Tak, from Kosovo, who explained to all how to realize a drawing to the scale of a bigger wall.
Later in the afternoon, the participants have enjoyed a typography workshop prepared by Grosso Modo, Romain Jimenez, Arthur Turpin and Slyvain Diot) where each participant had the occasion to learn about lettering and typography and discovering new tools, playing with each other’s language .
The workshop continued on the whole morning of the 14th of September. The participants had also the occasion to talk more deeply during this day, on the Wall project and what they wanted to do with the walls they would have to paint the next day. To get some inspiration, all together, we brought the participants to La Réserve, le grand 8 in Malakoff, an important Street Art temporary exhibition.
The 16th of September was a day completely dedicated to the Wall. On the morning, the participants have enjoyed a presentation and a stencil workshop made by le M.U.R our partner. Then the participants headed to a place near the municipality of Gennevilliers where 4 blocks of walls were waiting for them.
The first block was dedicated to a project to talk about walls in the current migration crisis, we can see a crowd crawling to reach a city. This is the result of a provious discussion among the participants who figured out the issues they all were concerned about: being a citizen of the world and breaking physical and mental walls. Being from a suburb of a big city, or being a citizen of a country in the periphery of the EU : all are combatting to gain the same opportunities as the ones born in better place.
The other walls were let to the creativity of everyone and gather very different styles.
The last wall was kept for the 2 confirmed Street Artists of our group, Asu from France and Tak from Kosovo, who painted and sprayed the whole block. On one side of the block, the two masterpiece and joining, symbol of the encounter between the two artists, different visions and different cultural background. Asu is working with paint, calligraphy and abstractness whereas Tak is working with spray, perspectives and geometry.
On one block, the participants have realized a very unique stencil : You can see the the 3 most known monument of the 3 nationalities of the participants, which represent our group : humans of different cultures, sharing a same sense of belonging to the world and the same passion for beauty and art. Here are the pictures of the last day :
TALK.France who like to thank all of its partners and participants for this amazing weeks. a special thanks to ROSI France, who made everything possible and have been an incredible host in Gennevilliers. Special thanks to Kreshnik Loka as well, our Team Leader from Albania, for being such a great co-worker !
NEXT STEP : TIRANA in DECEMBER!