Saturday, 4 February 2012

La Biennale's 3rd Venice International Carnival for Kids

(Venice, Italy) Children of Other Lands was the first book I ever wrote at age six. It was inspired by a deck of playing cards I had been given, embellished with images of children from all over the world in their native dress. It was a non-fiction book, complete with illustrations, well-researched, very thick -- about ten pages -- and cost five cents. Even at age six, to me, writing was a business, although I have no idea how I arrived at that concept since there were no writers in my middle-class/working-class childhood world. I organized a neighborhood book sale. An older girl named Cookie who lived down the block scribbled a couple of pages, stuck two lollipops on the cover, and charged six cents. Everybody wanted her book and nobody wanted mine. It was my first lesson in marketing.

I have always been fascinated by foreign lands -- perhaps because of that deck of playing cards -- which is one of the reasons I live in Venice. Another is La Biennale, an organization that is a hub of international creative activity. One of the newer activities of the Venice Biennale is the Carnevale Internazionale dei Ragazzi, or The Venice International Carnival for Kids, and if you are planning to come to Venice for Carnevale this year with your munchkins, you have got to go. This is what I wrote about it last year in a post entitled:

OTTOCENTO - From Senso to Sissi - The City of Women - Venice Carnival 2011

Photo La Biennale
For the second year, La Biennale presents Carnevale dei ragazzi, or the Kid's Carnival down at Giardini. Unfortunately, I went with a dog, not a kid, who was not allowed inside, so I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked. I loved it! The kids were creating things the old-fashioned way -- with their own hands -- just like real children, and they seemed perfectly content not to have a computer in front of them. Different rooms inside the Italian pavilion with names like "The enchanted forest" "The prarie of sounds" "The painted desert" "The city of visions" "The fluorescent depths" were bursting with creative activities and plenty of kids intent on the act of creation.  

The principle: "having fun by creating." Remember that? Remember how you could spend hours simply with some crayons, or some mud? As well as visitors to Venice, schools from all over the Veneto arrived. Paolo Baretta, the President of La Biennale, wrote: "I would like to thank the teachers of all the schools at every grade and level, from Venice and the Veneto region, our intelligent ambassadors and precious partners. I would like to thank the parents who will accompany their children, and those will allow themselves to be accompanied by their children." This year's edition was the first time there was international participation, with Austria, Great Britain, Holland and Poland contributing to the fun.

The theme of this year's Carnevale is La Vita è Teatro. Tutti in Maschera, which sort of translates to Life is Theater. Everybody Wears a Mask, and the official program says the preview starts today, February 4, 2012, although there are just a handful of things gearing up. The fountain is spewing wine in Piazza San Marco, and there are some costumed revellers posing for photos. Everyone is primed for next weekend and for the official opening, which will be Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00AM in Piazza San Marco. Fat Tuesday, the last day of Carnival is February 21, 2012. Click for the official program at Venezia Marketing & Eventi.

Photo La Biennale
The theme of this year's Venice International Carnival for Kids is Favole e Pensieri, or Tales and Thoughts, and will run from February 11 to February 21, 2012, every day from 10:00AM to 6:00PM with workshops and activities galore. In addition, on February 11 and 18, Playground Bollywood! will feature Indian dance workshops and performances conceived by La Biennale Dance Director Ishmael Ivo with the 25 young dancers from the Arsenale della Danza. The Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello in Venice will present musical activities in their workshops Hurray for Music! UNICEF Italia will address childrens' rights with games and activities in their workshops Hurray for Children!

In addition, the Kid's Carnival is growing ever more international with the participation of the "Magnificent 7"countries:

Photo: Stitchery Collective
1. Australia. WARM  - Thanks to Skype, Kathleen Cattoni from the Stitchery Collective in Brisbane, Australia spoke at the press conference yesterday, even though she was on the opposite side of the world. The Stitchery Collective "connects the unlikely bedfellows of fashion and social welfare," and will be at the Kid's Carnival from February 11 to the 15th. "The stitchery will be running ‘WARM’ t-shirt upcycling workshops, where with our pint-sized helpers we will transform the pre-loved T-shirts of Brisbane into much-loved custom-made beanies, scarves and ponchos for our chilly European friends."  Click to go to The Stitchery Collective blogInitiative organized by The Collective Stitchery, with the support of Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Central Pavilion from 11 to 15 February

2.  Great Britain - STORYTELLING - A family workshop to show parents how to help their children learn a foreign language (English, no doubt:) through storytelling. Conducted by an English native-language teacher, assisted by a member of the Biennale staff. February 11 and 12. Initiative made possible by the support of the British Council Italia.
Central Pavilion 11 and 12 February.

3.  Germany - THE TALES OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM - MASK AND COSTUME WORKSHOP - Two hundred years ago, in 1812, the Brothers Grimm published their first collection of fairy tales, which I read to the point of obsession when I was a kid. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin -- they all come from the Brothers Grimm. Two set designers from Munich are going to head the workshop, which will open the door to "fairies, witches and fairytale characters" so the kids can create their own Carnival costumes. The German contribution is a project by the Embassy of Germany in Rome and the German Centre for Venetian Studies, with the support of the Goethe Institut.
Central Pavilion from 12 to 14 February.

Photo at Soap Art
4.  Romania - BEASTS AND SUPER BEASTS - Soap Art Kollectiv (Raluca Arnautu and Suzana Dan) create stuffed animals inspired by fairy tales of their own creation. Animal Stories! will bring the imaginary Romanian beasts to life. The exhibition and workshops are organized by the Romanian Institute of Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice, with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucarest, and in collaboration with the Anaid Art Gallery, Global Mindscape and with Australians Studying Abroad (Melbourne).
Central Pavilion every day.

5.  United States - ElettrizzARTE! - Artists who work with light - neon, lasers, LEDS, optical fibers and xenon projections -- are the focus of this workshop where the kids will get to play with light and lighting devices. The programme by the United States of America was made possible by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Central Pavilion 11, 12, 18, 19,21 February.

6. Netherlands - DANCING IN RIETVELT'S PAVILION - Tweetakt is Holland's international theater and art festival for people who are not grownups. You'll get to create your own show, mix your own music and make your own animated flipbook. The programme at the Dutch Pavilion has been made possible by the contribution of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Italy, the City of Utrecht, the Province of Utrecht, the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation, and in collaboration with the Rietveldpaviljoen Foundation.
Netherlands pavilion every day

7. Belgium - ABC TOY WORKSHOP - ABC House (Art Basics for Children) is a new creativity center in Brussels. They will lead the way in making toys out of everyday and recycled materials. An initiative organized by ABC – ART BASICS for CHILDREN, a non-profit organization based in Brussels which operates in the field of arts and education to create stimulating environments and projects that encourage children and adults of all ages to experiment with their imagination and explore their creative potential.
Belgium Pavilion every day

Everything is free. Can you imagine? All that fun and creativity for free. Who knows what wonderful memories the kids will have from such an event, and what kind of future projects it might inspire. There will even be a spaghetti lunch at 1:00PM after the inauguration at 11:30 on Saturday, February 11, 2012. Head down to Giardini where all the action will take place. Click for more information at La Biennale website

Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Children of Other Lands was the first book I ever wrote at age six. It was inspired by a deck of playing cards I had been given, embellished with images of children from all over the world in their native dress. It was a non-fiction book, complete with illustrations, well-researched, very thick -- about ten pages -- and cost five cents.