Sharing Christmas with the Young Lions

Our very last workshop for this year was with the Young Lions and could only but keep the Christmas spirit alive!

The Young Lions made a Christmas drawing, which they amazingly always enjoy. There was a catch though this time; they didn't draw their own Christmas theme, but had to pass the drawing to the other kids at the pause of the Christmas songs playing in the background.

We ended up with a number of varied, interesting-looking Christmas drawings, the result of which was more of a group than an individual effort. Although a slight discontent was at times unavoidable (some additions were not warmly welcomed), the kids went home pleased to having shared this drawing with their friends.

Following a very busy year, we will be taking a (well-deserved) break for the holidays, while also planning our workshops and other activities starting January 7th. In the meantime, greetings to all! Past forgotten, present remembered and future to look forward to!


Loom Knitting with Wildflower Home

Hello again from CCT/ARI staff!

As the temperature continues to drop (it's still a tropical 30 degrees during the daytime!), Thais have started to pull out their winter wardrobes. Hats, scarves and mittens can be found in all the markets, and you can spot women knitting and crocheting everywhere.

On Wednesday, we continued our work with the women at Wildflower Home; learning different knitting techniques to create hats and scarves for winter.

This week, the women created their own wooden looms which they can easily make scarves on. All they needed was a wooden block, a hammer and nails, and yarn!

 ARI's Pepo, working on her loom

We had a fantastic time creating the looms. While it took some patience and practise to get the scarves going, we know the finished projects will be great (and warm too!)



Dreaming of a White Christmas with Hope Home

Greetings from the Art Relief International and Cultural Canvas Thailand team!

As we wind down before our annual holiday break, ARI finds itself without volunteers (we miss them dearly!)  CCT and ARI staff have been busy the past two weeks planning some fantastic workshops.

On Wednesday, we went to Hope Home and got into the holiday spirit by making Christmas cards and singing songs. The workshop quickly turned into a holiday concert, with Phil on the drums, Joy on the bells, Boonrot on the tambourine, and Nomchok on the xylophone.

Two of the seven band members, Nomchok and Alicia

We created beautiful cards; painted trees and cotton for snow! The cards are now decorating the Hope Home Christmas tree.

Phil, leading the holiday cheer

We had such a great time with the kids at Hope Home (as usual) and can't wait to return in the new year!



Journaling with the Women's League of Burma

Our newest partner organization Women's League of Burma (WLB) welcomed us at their Thai headquarters for our first workshop. Although the participants were reserved in the beginning - it was our first visit after all - they quickly loosened up and brought into being a workshop that was a superb combination of complex thinking and fun (for us too).

We worked with 15 women from Burma in their early 20s, who are currently residents at WLB, an organization that works with Burmese women in Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Burma to enhance the role of the women of Burma nationally and internationally and empower them to assume active roles in government and civil society in favor of democracy, peace, reconciliation and human rights.

Our workshop employed journal-making as the means to introduce exercises linked to the WLB curriculum, focusing on self-reflection and exploration of identity and offering the women a stimulus to think, reason and express themselves around complex issues through a three-stage creative process.

We began our exercise with the decoration of our journal covers by any preferred medium, setting one condition; that what they created would represent them. Unexpectedly, drawing and painting were widely popular and nearly all the journal covers were a combination of various mediums (drawing, painting, collage, even writing).

We used a basic pamphlet-binding technique to assemble our journals and were set to go. The participants elaborated on their roles as women today and presented their work to the rest of the group.

Their teacher, Emma, also took part in the exercises and the women showed immense trust in her, requesting her advice and input. It was amazing to see how constructively the women worked together and assisted each other extensively throughout the workshop.

Their multiple roles surfaced and our two-hour session was a vivid demonstration of affection, tenderness and innocence, alongside determination, drive and confidence. Isn't this what it means to be a woman after all?
We surely look forward to going back to WLB and working with this passionate group!


Card-making with the Young Lions

Hello ARI Friends,

I am Nicky and I have just joined Art Relief International as the new Art Director. I have only recently arrived in Chiang Mai from Athens, Greece, where I worked in the contemporary art sector for several years. I cannot describe how thrilled I am to start my life in Chiang Mai and my work at ARI with such dedicated volunteers and staff and the amazing people and communities throughout Chiang Mai.

And what better way to begin than with our ongoing Young Lions project! At our recent workshop the Young Lions created their very own Christmas cards to take home and wish to their family. 

This was also our opportunity to say goodbye to Aimee, the ARI outgoing Art Director, who is traveling back to New York after doing an excellent work here for the past year. All ARI staff would like to thank Aimee for her devotion and hard work and wish her the best of luck with her future projects.

Keep following us the next few days, as we will be posting news on this year’s last workshops at Women's League of Burma, Hope Home and Wildflower Home!

Thank you everyone for a very warm welcome!