Aldona Community Collaborative
What is the Aldona Community Collaborative?
A group of people, most of them originally from the village, who have come together with the intention of inviting children to get involved in the creation of a mural, as a culmination of a process of observation, reflection and appreciation of the natural, social and cultural elements that make Aldona what it is.
The purpose of choosing the Children’s Park as the place for the mural is that of hoping to spark more social initiatives that can facilitate the renovation and beautification of such an important place for the children of Aldona.
How are all the different groups in the project working together?
We are basically one group but, two of our contributors are the representatives of the Alban and Aurora Couto Community Library in Aldona (Bookworm library). They have been helping us a lot by letting us use the library space for conducting workshops with the children, by sending invitations and helping us keep in touch with many of the participants who are also members of the library.
What are some of the main messages or themes of your mural?
We want the children to see that their village is a place with a very well-defined identity, amazingly rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, to understand that all these entities are linked together like a network of roots of a tree. To be aware, to value what they have in order to be able to direct the changes for improving the community rather than taking it for granted.
What was the process of execution for this project?
At the beginning of October, we contacted the schools and other local groups of children who were invited for workshops where they interacted with us and with each other, describing the village from their points of view.
In those workshops that took place Between October to November, we encouraged the children to observe and draw natural, social and cultural elements they could identify as part of their village.
Between December and January, the design of the mural was done considering the children’s observations.
From January to now, we have been working with around 37 children and some of the parents on the painting of the mural.
What were some of the most surprising/curious things you discovered along the way?
The talent and commitment of the children and the synergy that was generated by people coming together, strengthening the group as a whole and increasing the confidence and enthusiasm of the children was most remarkable.
Also, we observed that the process of creating this mural seemed to bring life back to the park, which had been abandoned for years. Within a few days after starting the mural painting parents could be seen bringing their children to play at the park.
Who is the audience for your work?
Mainly children but everyone who lives in Goa, will be able to relate to the various images depicted in this mural.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced in creating a community-based project? How did you overcome them and what learnings has it given rise to?
The circumstances presented by the pandemic was the main hurdle, it made everything more difficult and slower than usual.
Some local authorities do not seem to understand the concept and value of community art projects, it was difficult to get their support.
However, we realized that if an activity is made interesting and creative and the objectives are clear and for the benefit of all, people will eventually support and join in.
What do you hope for as an outcome for the project - beyond the creation of the mural?
We hope that the mural inspires the people of Aldona to do something about the neglected children’s park and turn it into a place of joy and fun that it was meant to be.