Students shine a light on their lives at SMAK
What do students on a work-study programme, ENGIE and SMAK (the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art Ghent) have in common? Shadowlife! This huge light installation will be shown during the Light Festival (which will run until February 4) and falls under ENGIE’s corporate social responsibility policy.
It is easier to awaken young people’s interest in sports than in art, yet art is an excellent way to express your feelings, especially on such often difficult subjects as sexuality, illness, crime or terrorism. This is exactly what SMAK, the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art Ghent, has offered to 150 students aged between 16 and 19 who attend Centrum Leren en Werken (CLW), an institution specialising in work-study programmes, and Secundair Kunstinstituut (SKI), a secondary art institute.
A mammoth work of art
The students spent four months (from September to December 2017) working together in several workshops to create a monumental light installation. Everything is their own work, from the design to creation and final assembly. The various parts of their work, namely large cardboard silhouettes, plastic sculptures and stop motion films, are attached to scaffolding and play with light and shadow to express their feelings, frustrations and concerns.
This is the fifth time that SMAK and ENGIE have teamed up to help young people who may sometimes struggle at school by giving them access to culture, encouraging reflection, getting them to look at the world differently and trust in their talent through an artistic approach that they perhaps would not have considered by themselves.
Inclusion through culture
The installation, Shadowlife, will run from January 31 up to February 4, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. as part of the Light Festival at Floraliënhal, behind SMAK.
ENGIE’s support for this project is in keeping with its role as a responsible stakeholder that is firmly rooted in the local community, fully assuming its corporate social responsibility with a view to, among other things, promoting the inclusion of children and young people through education, sports and culture.