In the poorest barrios in Argentina, I have just seen one of the most powerful works of art. It is important. It is important to me, as art is an expression as is music and poetry. Life for me yesterday was poetry.
SAC has a new work of art, which was painted by children of the barrios. These are terribly poor and abused children who live in a very dangerous environment. I was fortunate enough to receive the painting on behalf of St Aloysius College.
Sister Judith has graciously offered me the painting to be used to support the project on my return. I want to talk to our Adelaide Mercy schools, as well as other local schools, about the barrios.
The barrios painters wanted 300 pesos ($A150 which would fund an excursion for their painters to see more artwork). This was nowhere near its true value so I offered to pay more. I love the painting and I love these children. It’s worth every penny and I believe it is a powerful addition to the SAC art treasures.
Below is a story from my great mate Josefina, child psychologist and educational guidance social worker, who works in the barrios. The story below tells in her words what happened yesterday.
Josefina wanted me to correct her words but I think, as English is her second language, she has done a fantastic job writing a beautiful account of an unforgettable memory. I particularly love the great things she says about me!!! (My ego is a real problem)
Dear Christine and dear St Aloysius.
I want to share you, one of the happiest days I spend with your great teacher Craig Evans. I had the luck to share many visits with Craig to different communities centre.
Today I want to talk you about what happens yesterday during a Catholic mass in the Chapel “Nuestra Señora de Lujan”. This Chapel is placed in Barrio Mitre, one of our poorest barrios of Buenos Aires.
I know you received a letter from Mr Evans talking you about the “people living in the rubbish” in Mitre. In your website you have some photos of children in this unworthy place and soon you will see some photos of Mr Evans visiting the place.
I also know St Aloysius heard about AVA TAVA, this art project that try to built up dignity to children that lives in this poverty in this same barrio.
This is life in Barrio Mitre. Rubbish and Treasure.
Your school has the pleasure to have one of this treasure that was made by the children of AVA TAVA in Barrio Mitre in one of these work shops. This collage was made of a picture of QUINQUELA MARTIN, one of our greatest artists that paint pictures of our famous “Barrio de la Boca”. This children of AVA TAVA, with her great teacher Mirta, investigate about this artist and then they made the collage.
Craig was able to appreciate this work, and with your help, he was able to contribute for the successful of this project. He ask for the picture and the teacher and the student agree that it was a wonderful idea to “sell” this “cuadro” to your school in Australia.
I don’t know if you realize how important is for them, in the conditions they are living, to know that their picture is taken to another country. For us it is a dream.
Rodrigo, the Jesuit priest, was so proud of it that he decided to give the picture in the Sunday mass. Craig and Joshua were invited to the mass. After the communion, Rodrigo with some of the children of AVA TAVA, gave the picture to Craig.
It is impossible for me to describe in few words the emotion the people of Mitre when Rodrigo explain them that an art teacher who came from another country wanted to take that picture to show his people how excellent work the children of Mitre were doing. They just couldn’t believe what they were listening.
Then Craig stands up and receives the picture. It was great. Then Rodrigo invites Mr Evans to play some of the percussion instruments and the mass turn into a real “BATUCADA”, just as Brazil. Craig holds up different instruments and tried to get the people to play it.
If mass is to celebrate life this was one of those real mass.
This people that return to the “home” in the middle of the poverty, had a holy space to share happiness, and this was given by your school Mr Evans.
I hope you can share your community that this was one of the best mass in Barrio Mitre. The parents when mass finish came to appreciate the picture. They discover that their children were able to contribute to a better world.
The children get to where Mr. Evans was and started to speak English. They said it each other that know they realize that was important for them to learn English.
And this is just the beginning of our exchange between AVA TAVA and St Aloysius. So thank you for this great day and for this new Circle of Mercy
Josefina Bargo (AVA TAVA’s Coordinator)
Thank you to the children of Barrios Mitre and the congregation.
Thanks to Padre Rodrigo, Jesuit priest, who incidentally has great rhythm, for a treasured day in the barrios.
Love, music and art.
Te mando un beso,
P.S. Comedor Angel celebrated its 10th birthday as a community comedor (food distribution centre, school and child minding centre). To celebrate, SAC painted their school, gave them a sandpit, swing set, table tennis table, 8 new desks, 10 new chairs, an electric heater, safe electricity, a new toilet system and a few other little fillers.
But what they gave me was their love.
Rosio, a little girl with a miserable home life, at first wouldn’t smile or accept me in any way. Today she sat proudly on my lap for every photo.
SAC is giving Rosio’s family a water supply and repairing her home. Pretty cool SAC students. I wish you were here to hear the gratitude….and feel their heart-filled love.