#WhatMovesYou? Inspiring Change and Staying Connected through Visual Arts

The world as we know it has changed. As communities around the world grapple with a ‘new normal’ brought about by the devastating COVID-19 outbreak, the world is uniting through the creative arts whether it be through virtual concerts in John Legend’s living room, or online museum tours, the arts are virtually bringing us together in a time of social distancing. As a result, the ALA community has found various ways to stay engaged, vibrant and connected to one another.

For starters, we tapped into the abundant talent that exists in our community to showcase on our inaugural Open Mic Night, on Friday, 10 April. From staff, faculty and alumni to current students, this virtual gathering was a fun and uplifting way to remind ourselves that we are not alone, using something that has always been at the helm of expression, connection, and humanity – the creative arts.

In Tanzania, Emmanuel Mushy ’11 launched a street art campaign promoting good hygiene and alternative modes of greeting in Kigogo, a rural part of Tanzania. The art mural, titled Zingatia – which means ‘consider’, was installed in the locale with over 57,000 residents, many of whom are low income and illiterate. For people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, this campaign communicates clearly in a language easily understood.

The success in lifting spirits within the ALA community has pushed us to take a step further. We’re harnessing the power of the creative arts in the form of our latest digital campaign, #WhatMovesYou? and we would love for you to participate. Wherever you are in Africa and around the world, we call upon you to share “#WhatMovesYou?” and express this through whatever artistic disciplines you possess and join the movement here.

The idea of “#WhatMovesYou?” is open to your own interpretation. Our goal is to help our community come together virtually during this peak period of uncertainty and to use this as a positive moment of celebration around the creative arts and talent in the broader ALA community.

So far, we’ve received heartwarming notions of what moves members of the community:

Nermine Mokdad

Nermine Mokdad ’19, Tunisia: “Personally, visual arts changed my life. During my childhood, I had speech impairment, painting, and drawing helped me to overcome this disability. Art is my passion, my source of inspiration and what moves me to overcome life challenges.”

Joseph Baraka Bokea

Joseph Baraka Bokea ’18, Kenya: “The arts are an essential part of being human. Music goes beyond language, beyond time. It is universal. Good music is always good music. It evokes emotions. One is able to appreciate music and feel emotions much more when you are a creator of it. It uplifts us. It comforts us. It inspires us.”.

Keep an eye out on ALA’s social media pages to see more of what moves our broader community. We will also be sharing updates on exciting virtual events that you can look forward to in the coming weeks!

Are you ready to share #WhatMovesYou? Join the movement and showcase your talent.