The Essencia Of Comunity Empowerment

Essen­cia is an inde­pend­ent col­lect­ive of  artists from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Their aim is to Essen­cia uses art as a means of  com­mu­nic­a­tion and edu­ca­tion, explor­ing diverse issues and themes that impact our daily lives. Their col­lect­ive energy unite artists from around the world using art in their own com­munit­ies, with the aim of  learn­ing and teach­ing through the exchange of  col­ours, music, dance, pho­to­graphy, per­form­ance and the infin­ite pos­sib­il­it­ies of  cre­at­ive expression.

Essen­cia now is a Street Art fest­iv­al; its roots come from the ‘’essence’’ of  street art, graffiti, and hip-hop cul­ture, and the val­ues that these art forms mani­fest. Essen­cia works through com­munity work­shops with youths, using the power of  art to break bor­ders, over­come taboos, pro­mot­ing under­stand­ing about import­ant mat­ters that affect our daily lives and glob­al community.

Each year the Fest­iv­al unites artists from across the world in an annu­al nomad­ic meet­ing. So far artists from Canada, Brazil, Chile, Seneg­al, France, the USA, Aus­tralia, Peru, Phil­ip­pines and Tunisia par­ti­cip­ated in its work­shops, exhib­i­tions and pub­lic events.

The first Essen­cia Fest­iv­al was launched in Mon­tréal and Toronto (Canada) in Septem­ber 2010, cel­eb­rat­ing the four ele­ments of  the Earth, the four Car­din­al dir­ec­tions, and the four ele­ments of  Hip Hop cul­ture Their object­ives were to gath­er vari­ous artists from around the world and bring a dif­fer­ent vis­ion to their own com­munit­ies of  how graffiti and hip-hop was being used in oth­er parts of  the world, as a tool for social empowerment.

In March 2011,five Essen­cia Collective’s artists were invited to Seneg­al to per­form at the 2MGra   fest­iv­al, which also uses art as a tool of  edu­ca­tion. This del­eg­a­tion included three street artists, Shalak, Fiya, Aishaa, MC Meryem Saci, and pho­to­graph­er Mar­i­el Rosen­bluth. They painted vari­ous artist­ic and com­munity mur­als and, through work­shops, 40 chil­dren and youths of  the com­munity act­ively par­ti­cip­ated in dis­cus­sions explor­ing ways to resolve child poverty.

Recently, the Third Inter­na­tion­al Essen­cia Fest­iv­al took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This year’s fest­iv­al united over 80 artists from five con­tin­ents of  the world to use art as a tool for com­munity empower­ment in five didifferent neigh­bor­hoods of  Sao Paulo, the main team: Moth­er Earth. Over 400 youth and chil­dren from the “periferi­as” (under­priv­ileged com­munit­ies) par­ti­cip­ated in edu­ca­tion­al art work­shops. Artists from Aus­tralia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Seneg­al, and the USA, par­ti­cip­ated in the final Essen­cia Art Exhib­i­tion at one of  Sao Paulo’s most pop­u­lar artist­ic spots, the Mat­ilha Cul­tur­al Gallery.

The suc­cess of  this year’s fest­iv­al was enorm­ous and Essen­cia is now embed­ded into the hearts of  its many par­ti­cipants, artists, and col­lab­or­at­ing organ­iz­a­tions. Essen­cia Col­lect­ive keeps on grow­ing and it is proof  that art and cul­ture can make a pos­it­ive dif­fer­ence and impact on our daily lives and glob­al com­munity. Next year’s fest­iv­al will be return­ing to Canada with pos­it­ive and boom­ing energy from around the world!.

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