CMT is one of the partners of Ur-Gente*, a project that aims to create a Transdisciplinary Performing Arts Center in Bissau and intends to contribute to the integrated and sustained development in the field of arts and culture in Guinea-Bissau.
In the last week of January 2023 we were in Bissau to share some of our ideas, experiences and methodologies in the areas of Voice and Movement, Music and Artistic Direction, Image Capture and Video Editing.
Our plan was framed within the spirit of “immersive training” that we have been developing over several years and which advocates the “experience of art” as a way of acquiring artistic, communicational, educational skills, catalysing the creation of connections between people. The Guinea-Bissau experience showed us, once again, that training is above all a process of “transformation” of people, not only in the sense of mutation/metamorphosis of what is their artistic and human potential, but also in terms of awareness of the importance of creativity and the immense possibility of exploring expressive territories that intersect.
Working with a group of people with very different cultural backgrounds from the ones we’ve been working with (particularly in Europe) was a challenge, a pleasure and a revelation. A fertile, young, talented, generous, energetic group with a great desire to learn/discover. We believe that training will have contributed in a very positive way to the creation of a “community” that wants to know more, do more, be more capable. The final presentation, at the Franco Guineense Institute, was a particularly touching moment and everyone, the (vast) audience, trainers, trainees, the Ur-Gente team, felt it in an obvious way. It was a very beautiful “journey” through territories of music, poetry, movement, with incredible discoveries of the many things that unite us. Not sta djuntu. If necessary, this could be a kind of “proof” of the immense value that Ur-Gente has. But it is not necessary, nor should it, be made into an “indicator”. Art has many facets, many of them timid and delicate. And it touches us in many ways.
After this first step, we will continue to nourish, “online”, the deep sense of identity and mutual help that we have found and to stimulate the development of artistic activities of a transdisciplinary nature, of experimentation, training, interaction with the community. The difficulties in working in Guinea-Bissau are immense, but the people’s energy and motivation, their imagination and creativity, seem to make it possible to overcome all obstacles. Inspiring.
Some of the echoes of the people we knew can still be heard: “I discovered voices I never imagined I had. Feet that don’t touch the ground reach where the earth is green. (…) I discovered that I was making art long before I became a boy (… ) for me art has gained colors (…) being different things, people or animals without being myself (…) being able to enjoy everything in every step I take (…) the affection and energy they give us” and the creole colors of the poem by Eugénio de Andrade in their voices. It is urgent – love.
Ur-Gente involves CMT’s collaboration with ONGD VIDA (PT) (project leader), ALAIM (Cape Verde) and GTO (Guinea-Bissau). The project is part of the PROCULTURA Action financed by the European Union under the Multiannual Indicative Program PALOP-TL EU for 2014-20, co-financed and managed by Camões, I.P. and co-financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.