Steve Lambert

is in Skopje, Macedonia

C4AA Workshop in Guinea, West Africa

The C4AA travelled to Guinea, West Africa in December to train local artists how they can use their practice to fight corruption in the region.

We worked with actors, comics, visual artists, poets, from Guinea, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and other neighboring countries. We ran a bi-lingual workshop through simultaneous interpretation in French, and translating all our written materials into French (see projection on right).

The wealth of natural resources in the region and how poorly distributed that wealth is can make anyone with a heart take another long look at socialism. Because of corruption, basic services in the largest city in the country like water and sewer, electricity, and trash collection don’t exist.

This beach was not exceptional – it’s the result of a lack of basic municipal services like garbage collection. It’s very frustrating to see.

All this has real effects on public health.

Don’t worry, my malaria medicine was preventative. But the public health threats are very real — Ebola killed over 2500 just a few years ago — and preventable as well.

Guinea has more natural resources, minerals, and fresh water than most countries on the continent. However, the wealth is exported along with the resources and what remains is in the hands of a few corrupt leaders. So the country remains criminally underdeveloped. On the first day there, I remember saying to the friend hosting us, “other countries have had revolutions over less than this.” They, of course, knew this.

As frustrating as it was to learn about, I was glad to be able to be helping those striving to make changes. Our curriculum is designed as a framework so those with the local knowledge and culture can adapt the foundational ideas to their context.

And we had fun.

In this group are some of the top comedians and actors in the region, dancers and choreographers, the founder of an all-female photographers association in Mali, and leaders of local theater and arts organizations. They will continue to use the work we did together and adapt it to the region and issues they’re working on.

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