Grow Wild, Fotosynthesis & A Man Called Caoimhin

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A youth project reflecting the importance of people working together to reconcile with the land by producing creative messages and imagery. Merging wild flowers with photography and graffiti art the project objectives are to nurture good mental health and provide a creative platform for children & young people to express their needs, abilities and connection with the city.

Youth Leader Caoimhin Osborne (22) has recently return home to Belfast from Colombia. He was there representing UK and Ireland at a Young Peacebuilders’ Forum managed by Beyond Skin partners Escuelas de Paz and United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY).

Caoimhin works at John Paul II Youth Club in Ardoyne Belfast. The club is involved in the FUTyoURES programme. The area around the club has been affectionately called ‘Little Soacha’ due to artwork created by social street artist Robison Sanchez from Soacha, Colombia who visited the club in 2018.

It is not a typo - the name FUTyoURES (pronounced futures) represents a balance in the project, neither Spanish nor English with creativity & arts as the language. It also is spelled this way to include YOURS & OURS in FUTURES. FUTyoURES is a participatory Peace programme linking Northern Ireland, Colombia and Colombian diaspora UK, Ireland & Spain by developing shared creative models to address conflict and the legacy of conflict. At the heart of the project are the Arts affirming the synergy between People and the Natural Environment around them. The project is managed by Beyond Skin (Northern Ireland) & Escuelas de Paz (Colombia).

Starting in September a photography and graffiti art project will commence at John Paul II Youth Club as part of the FUTyoURES programme. The project will be facilitated by artist VANE MG and Ingrid Guyon & Antonio Amador from the participatory photography company FotosynthesisThe activities are funding by Belfast City Council Arts & Heritage & the Grow Wild programme, an outreach of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

‘It is exciting to be part of this fantastic project!’ commented Stéphanie Baine, Grow Wild Engagement Manager, ‘By mixing a natural element with artistic creativity, this project is will help Grow Wild achieve its mission is to bring people together to value and enjoy wildflowers and fungi’.

Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said: “We want to see everyone in Belfast actively participating in cultural life – so we’re delighted to support this innovative project which will see established arts professionals and designers encouraging young people to explore the visual arts, and expand their horizons to consider international perspectives. I hope they’ll take a lot of pride in the artwork they create for their club and that their involvement in the project will open up further engagement in, and appreciation for the arts.”

Fotosynthsisis are a team of professional photographers, filmmakers and participatory methods practitioners that uses ethical and inclusive image making as a tool to engage, educate and create new narratives. They have over 10 years of experience designing and delivering creative projects with schools, businesses, community groups, charities, NGO’s, international development agencies, cultural organisations, universities and local government institutions. Much of Fotosynthesis work has been with the Colombian diaspora.  Ingrid will work at John Paul Club in September with Antonio (born in Colombia) travelling over later in the year to work at the club.

Ingrid Guyon commented “Having met some of the enthusiastic young people at Jean Paul II Youth Club last year, I am really excited to share ideas, challenge and engage with each other, connect with nature and to see what images and messages they will create together”

Vane MG (Vanessa) is a multidisciplinary artist & Designer from Colombia who is now established in London. She worked in the Design world from 2009 & in 2015 she started working on projects which focus on highlighting the importance of Colombian women. Her objective is to attempt to reclaim elements of the cultural past, integrating it with the present and creating new images that help to define a lost identity. Her most recent and important artwork was being a commissioned artist for the world renowned Kew Gardens in London, painting colorful Colombian nature in murals at the Princess of Wales Conservatory for the famous Orchid Festival, that in 2019 was focused on Colombia. Participating in this huge event positioned her as a Colombian artist representing her country whilst being the first artist in the world to in paint inside the Kew Gardens walls. Vane MG is working in Painting, Art interior design, street art, Art Videomapping, showing the force of the creative woman leader through the spirituality of ancient Latin culture. At the same time she is working in collaboration with more artists and Designers in London, around Europe and Colombia helping to build a stronger artworld for more people and opening more art opportunities for everyone. Now as a female artist, although far from her land of origin, she feels the call of her roots which she wants to share with the rest of the world.

Caoimhin Osborne speaking about his visit to Bogota said "My experience in Colombia was amazing, getting to meet so many different people from all over Latin America, listening to the different ways young people build peace and the sharing of cultural exchange. it has taught me that building peace and teaching our young people today that peace is the way forward no matter what religion or race you are, respect everyone the same and make friends with your local neighbour and global neighbours’

The project commences 4th September. For more information about #FUTyoURES visit the webpage

Youth4peace webpage

“We must continue to build with different languages that art provides us, because I am sure that therein are the answers to all the social problems that we inhabit on a daily basis. And we must not forget that Together We Grow - We Are Seeds.”  Robison Andres Gonzalez Sanchez.

In December 2015 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250, the first ever thematic resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. This historic document is very important for all young peace builders worldwide because it brings recognition and legitimacy for youth’s efforts in building peace. On the 6th June 2018 UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution on #Youth4Peace Beyond Skin are leading the youth4peace initiative in Northern Ireland.