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[teacherartexchange] The Cradle Project - relief effort for Africa

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From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2006 - 04:30:35 PST


Dear Art Educators,

I received the following from Naomi Natale...... I will find out if
they will accept cradles made by students for the installation
project.

From Naomi Natale:

My name is Naomi Natale. I am the founder of The Cradle Project, which
is an art installation designed to represent the plight of the
estimated 48 million children who have been orphaned by disease and
poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

I am contacting you today because I feel that this very important
project is one that should be promoted among all people involved in the
arts and arts
education.

Below is just a summary of the project I have taken from our brochure,
but I would encourage you to visit the website for more
information...

www.thecradleproject.org

"In September of 2007 one thousand cradles and cribs made by artisans
from around the world will fill an abandoned warehouse in Albuquerque,
New Mexico. We call this vision The Cradle Project.

The Cradle Project is an art installation designed to represent the
plight of the estimated 48 million children who have been orphaned by
disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Mission is to promote awareness and raise financial support to help
feed, shelter, and educate these children.

The vision of The Cradle Project is to utilize the symbolism of empty
cradles and falling sand to represent the lost potential of these
orphaned children. Our goal is to amass a minimum of 1,000 cradles,
all made out of scrap material. We believe that if we can see enough
potential in a piece of scrap to make a structure which cradles a
child, why can we not see that much potential in our world's forgotten
children. Empty cradles speak for themselves. Juxtaposed to these
cradles will be a wall of slowly falling sand, symbolizing how these
lives, these cradles, this potential, will all be buried and never
realized.

As the founder of The Cradle Project, I am often asked about the origin
of this vision. It began four short years ago during a trip to Kenya
where I was conducting a photo documentary of children living in slums.
For most of my visit I traveled with an order of Sisters who were
working with orphaned children. The journeys that I took with them -
moving from one orphanage and slum to the next, across the entire
country - exposed me to one of the most staggering and horrifying
realities affecting Africa today - the orphan crisis.
During one of these visits I was told the story of two brothers who had
lived in Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa. Both brothers were
graced with amazing creative talents - one could build small airplanes
out of scrap metal that would actually fly (!) and the younger brother
was an exceptional sculptor; at the age of eight he would sculpt
anything requested of him for merely a shilling, only to destroy it and
start over for his next amazed customer. When the story was relayed to
me both of the brothers had already gone missing and were feared dead.
Their fate still remains unknown. Like so many millions of other
anonymous and gifted children living in the slums of Africa, their
potential as thriving and creative citizens of our global community
slipped unnoticed and un-nurtured through the falling sands of time.
The vision of The Cradle Project is to utilize the symbolism of empty
cradles and falling sand to represent exactly this loss. Our goal is
to amass a minimum of 1,000 cradles, all made out of scrap material,
and display them in an abandoned warehouse, against a towering backdrop
of falling sand. We believe that if we can see enough potential in
pieces of discarded scraps to build structures meant to cradle a child,
then surely we can imagine the potential of our world's forgotten
children. One thousand empty cradles speak volumes about loss. The
wall of slowly falling sand in the background symbolizes how these
lives, these cradles, this potential, will all be buried - irrevocably.

Of course, if we are correct and our visions do extend beyond the
possibilities of scrap material to the lives of vibrant and hopeful
children, then The Cradle Project also represents hope. With its
ability to provoke artistic and political engagement with a pressing
humanitarian issue, as well as its ability to stimulate funding, The
Cradle Project will help transform potential in to actuality.

Soon we will be adding a link to our website about an extension of this
project called Children Helping Children. Children Helping Children
is an initiative geared at getting schools throughout the country
involved in The Cradle Project by having their students make cradles.
These cradles will not be part of the installation but instead they
will stay in the community where they were made as an indication that
if we can move children to care about other children who are thousands
of miles away, then there is truly enough hope in this world to make a
difference.

I strongly urge you to consider promoting this project within your
arts community. This issue is so important and
any awareness we can spread is incredibly valuable.

Naomi Natale
Founder/Curator
The Cradle Project
604 B Madison NE
Albuquerque NM 87110
505 699 4613
www.thecradleproject.org

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