Cloud Chatanda hosted an event at Nafasi Art Space following his residency at the ZK/U in Berlin. He wrote a short statement about his experience:
Before I travelled from Dar es Salaam to Berlin as part of the Urban Narratives/ Simulizi Mjini residency programme I already had an idea of what I was going to do. I wanted to focus on how city people were affected by new building constructions in Berlin that might not be suitable to the environment. However, when I arrived from the heat of Dar es Salaam to the cold of Berlin I had to change my ideas because I found it too cold to work outside with frozen fingers! I still wanted to see how people in Berlin use public spaces so I turned my focus from buildings to public parks.
I discovered that parks are more important for people who live in town and is the place where you can find families cooking, eating, resting, playing and even sunbathing. So I visited different parks to see, draw and give a visual opinion of how I saw city life in this different environment.
The artworks I created are not about showing the beauty of the parks but portraying minor happenings that we don’t normally pay any attention to. For instance how are public toilets used in parks and what happens when there’s a big event in the park and the public toilets are overused? How is the park used then?
I also found it interesting that many of these public facilities like parks and toilets are owned and managed by the local government. This is different to Dar es Salaam where the parks we do have are usually owned/managed by private businesses. This completely changes how people in the city use the facilities and even how people feel about them. Even though they are in the public space they are not necessarily free for everyone to use.
To me, parks are an important part of our universal urban heritage and deserve to be protected and created for the betterment of our future. Parks are a place where we can freely meet, talk and share who we are. I think this is very important for the future planning and development of urban spaces in Berlin and Dar es Salaam for the benefit of society.
Discover more about Cloud Chatanda’s residency at the ZK/U on this post, or on this TV coverage!