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Project: OJOS DEL ALMA (Eyes of the Soul)

Nacho Cartagena surrounded by students of the Escuela Fructuoso Rodríguez
Nacho Cartagena surrounded by students of the Escuela Fructuoso Rodríguez

By Juanita Chacon-Snow

A skills development program for visually-impaired children in Cuba to learn drawing and cork art techniques as a means to enhance their self-esteem and promote their integration into the mainstream of society by furthering their artistic development and vocational training in the arts.


The initial idea of the project emerged from a group of young artists and photographers, all members of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC), who had been working with visually impaired children. The “Ojos del Alma” project was presented in 2007 at the “Evento de Ramón” art exhibit and workshop held in the Province of Villa Clara, Cuba, an annual event that gathers photographers, painters and sculptors from around the world.


Chilean-Canadian sculptor Nacho Cartagena was invited that year to exhibit his cork sculptures, a unique technique he has developed and for which he has received high accolades from art critics and the public alike. During his stay, Cartagena joined forces with photographer Elton Canto, the project’s coordinator, and the president of UNEAC, and held several workshops with these children and a group of UNEAC artists so that they could in turn continue teaching the cork art technique to other visually-impaired children at the Escuela Fructuoso Rodríguez. Although not part of the regular school curriculum, the workshops are considered an integral part of the students’ learning process. The Escuela Fructuoso Rodríguez is a special school for visually-impaired children with a total student body of 128 boys and girls.


The initial tools and equipment for these workshops were purchased with funds donated by Casa Maíz, the project’s international partner, and Nacho Cartagena. The cork used for the artwork is recovered from local hotels and restaurants through special arrangements with these establishments.


The Villa Clara Board of Education and UNEAC are currently exploring the feasibility of extending this unique program to special schools in other provinces. Workshops in other areas of the arts are also being planned with guest instructors. The first one is expected to be held later this year in theatre arts with Uruguayan actor Richard Rodríguez, director of the Toronto-based theatre group “Grupo Teatro Libre.”

Visit Ojos del Alma website

 

Elton Canto and Nacho Cartagena with a cork sculpture they created, which was donated to raise funds for the Chilean earthquake relief campaign.
Elton Canto and Nacho Cartagena with a cork sculpture they created, which was donated to raise funds for the Chilean earthquake relief campaign.

Project coordinator Elton Canto is currently visiting Toronto with the support of Casa Maíz to promote the project among potential partners and supporters, exchange experiences with other institutions that work with visually-impaired children, and receive hands-on training in cork art techniques with sculptor Nacho Cartagena. The skills learned will be shared with the project’s instructors in Cuba upon his return as part of their ongoing training.


For further information or if you would like to support the project, contact Nacho Cartagena at: jcartagena(at)rogers.com

WORKSHOPS

TALLER DE PINTURA EN ACRILICO
When / Cuando: December 20
Place / Lugar: CASA MAIZ

EVENTS

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VIDEO


Aritst Nacho Cartagena receives honorable mention at VAM Art Show January 2012

OJOS DEL ALMA (Eyes of the Soul)

Fundraiser for visually-impaired children in Cuba to learn drawing and cork art techniques.

Lugar / Where:
 
Casa Maiz – 1280 Finch Avenue West # 204
Fecha / When: 28 de Mayo del 2010
Hora / Time: 7:00 pm.
Donacion sugerida / Donation:  $5

ADVERTISING / PUBLICIDAD