Okada Buluma (Nairobi, 1982) is a Social Practice Artist.
He is known in Kenya and internationally for the quality of his work on behalf of children and disadvantaged youth. Over the years, Okada has experimented with creative educational methods centred on the needs of children, through the use of games and of playful learning practices.
Cherimus has been collaborating with Okada Buluma since 2014 and together they have realized two major projects funded by the Sardinian Region (in application of the Regional Law of 11 April 1996, n. 19), ‘Ciak! Kibera’ and ‘Carnival! Nairobi.’ The collaboration also led to the creation, in Nairobi, together with Charles Nshimmy, of a wooden statue of Santu Jacu (St James), which was later offered to the community of Perdaxius.
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The residency starts with a visit at Museo archeologico nazionale, Cagliari, through centuries of history and intertwining Mediterranean cultures. Sphinxes and other artifacts found in Sardinia testify to the presence of the cults of Isis and Osiris on the island, while other funerary and quotidian artifacts are very similar to those on display in the museum. The visit continued with the Giants of Mont’e Prama, the sacred models of the nuraghi (ancient Sardinian stone structures), and the beautiful Nuragic bronzes statues.
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Workshop by Okada Buluma and Cherimus with a group of people living in the Casa Emmaus’ facility (Iglesias) from Egypt, Tunisia, Albania and Afghanistan.
Okada invited everyone to write or draw something important to them, a memory, a dream. Stories emerged, sometimes linked to moments of the long journey that brought them to Sardinia, the nostalgia and longing for home. They then transformed these reflections into color and painting, and then a map of all their stories.
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Conference “Orizzonti di cooperazione”, Town Hall, Perdaxius
Okada Buluma talked about his professional experience working with and educating kids who live in the streets of Nairobi: the building of a sense of trust through play, the uplifting of each person’s uniqueness and self expression, perseverance, and patience are the ingredients of a process that brought many children off the streets. After Okada spoke, Emiliana Sabiu & Matteo Rubbi, cofounders of Cherimus, talked about the projects Cherimus has developed with Koinonia Community in Nairobi, in which artists, musicians, and educators worked together in the communities of the children who live in the street to represent and give form to their dreams and their futures. Also present at the meeting were various institutional actors and representatives of local area associations who are interested in activating dialogue on the theme of educational poverty, centering the education and growth of all the components of community education: families, teachers, and educators.
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Workshop in collaboration with Elda Mazzocchi Scarzella association, Domusnovas.
Okada, alongside Cherimus, held a workshop for a group of children, exploring the theme of tales and stories as the roots of one’s identity both as individuals and as a community.
Some of the stories centered on the territory of Domusnovas, its caves, its mines, and its mountains. Others were classic fairy tales, and still others tales invented for the workshop. At the end of their time together, these stories, translated into a storyboard of drawings, were lined up and recombined by the children, giving life to a new story. Stories are a living language: they are games; they are the transmission and questioning of knowledge. Our stories grow with us.
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Visiting Barrancu Mannu, one of the most beautiful and magical archaeological and natural sites in Sulcis. Located near Santadi, the site houses a Tomba dei giganti and other remains from ancient times.
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For Easter Saturday, Okada Buluma, Emilia Brunoro and Fiammetta Caime worked together to prepare Chapati, a fried unleavened bread very popular in Kenya. As an accompaniment to this bread, ricotta was prepared with excellent thistle honey produced in Perdaxius, Sulcis cheeses and legumes.
Some images of the playful workshop that closed the week of Okada Buluma’s residency. The kids of Perdaxius gifted us with this explosion of colors, creating the shell of an alien dinosaur egg made of their drawings, which was shown to the community at the Park of San Leonardo.
Thank you Comune di Perdaxius for making this possible!
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