Currently travelling around India on a hiatus from everyday routine, far removed from my life as a writer in Berlin, I am volunteering with an NGO called Odanadi. For the last twenty six years the charity has strove to empower vulnerable communities and rehabilitate trafficked women and children, carrying out over 70 brothel raids, bringing over 150 traffickers to justice and rescuing and rehabilitating more than 4,200 children.
Every year Odanadi organises an event called Yoga Stops Traffick – a worldwide event with the aim of raising funds to continue Odanadi’s work, and also raise awareness about human trafficking. Anyone is free to participate, and if you are a yoga teacher or studio you are encouraged to create an event and get involved. This year’s event will take place on Sunday 15th March, led by some of Odanadi’s current residents on the grounds of Mysore Palace. They will be joined by hundreds of yoga practitioners – both in Mysore and worldwide. A series of 108 sun salutations will be completed to mark the event, and everyone is encouraged to join in!
For more information on Yoga Stops Traffick and how to get involved visit the website here or Facebook page here.
On a recent visit back to my hometown, I was pleasantly surprised to find a local jewellery business, Fallen Saint, holding a ‘Depressed Cake Shop’ – a charity event to raise money for mental health. The idea was simple, volunteers would donate their baked goods to be sold by the shop, the proceeds of which would go to a local mental health charity. There was only one stipulation: the cakes had to be grey.
Despite not being blessed with natural culinary skills I rose to the occasion and with a little help from my friend created something which people admired and even paid to eat – £1.50 a slice! Although at first I thought that grey cakes were a little insensitive, I think it’s also true that this colour best reflects the illness, a monochrome shade which is unable to be expressive or emotive. The turn out for the event was wonderful and as well as raising over £200 for Wolverhampton mental health alliance groups it got people talking about a mostly taboo subject which affects a massive 1 in 4 people. Good work, Fallen Saint, I hope to see more of these events popping up in the future.
You can read something I wrote about this wonderful weekly occurrence here. The perfect place to meet friends and strangers alike, I would definitely pick this over the currently trendy BITE club, which has approximately a quarter of the choice and triple times the queues. Not all of the images by Gösta von Platen were included on the original post however, and so I’m presenting some of my favourites here.
Thanks Gösta! You can find more info about Street Food Thursdays also on their Facebook page here.
Today is the last day of International Literature Festival Berlin, so make sure you visit whilst you still can! Below are some images of the comic exhibition currently on show as part of the festival, and if you’d like to find out what went down at the J.M. Coetzee reading earlier in the week you can do so here.
Below are some personal highlights of this year’s Illustrative Berlin Festival. Gathering 190 international artists under one roof, the festival’s themes this year were art vs.crafts and technology vs.intention, and the results were an interesting mix of illustration and graphic design presented in the charming Direktorenhaus.
The complex illustrations of Mugluck (above) are illuminated by one of Direktorenhaus’ unusual lamps.
Some of my favourite collages/drawings are pictured here above and below, based on a series of postcards by Daniel Horowitz. Entitled ‘365’, the artist produced one piece of work every day for a year, starting each time with a single, blank sheet of paper, encouraging the artist to step away from his computer and get back to grips with more traditional creation processes.
The piece below is by Polish artist Maciej Sieńczyk as part of the festival’s main exhibition, ‘Where I Come From’, which focussed on contemporary Polish visual art.
Introducing Little Dudes – a collaborative project of designers, illustrators, artists and creatives from across the globe. Created by graphic designer/ editor /all round super Alexis Bainger, the project involves creating a ‘dude’ from a ready made template and bringing him to life in whatever way you feel is most appropriate. Adorn him with your artwork, morph him into a larger version – there are no constraints as to how your dude expresses himself.
All the dudes will be showcased in an exhibition in Berlin from the 1st-3rd November, and also be photographed for a book, portraying each dude in all their glory and complete with their story. After the exhibition there will be an auction with each dude going to a new home, the proceeds from which will either go to the artist or to a nominated charity of their choice. There are 93 dudes in total to be created and adopted, to get involved or find out more information visit the project’s website here.
There are few things as good as getting your mitts on a great new book. The masterfully crafted parallel world, companionship on dull journeys and rapture on those rainy evenings, curled up in bed with a cup of tea and your book of choice are a wonderful thing, and it’s always disappointing when you start a new book and it doesn’t live up to these lofty expectations.
New Berlin based community Bookflanuer.me is a project which aims to set up ongoing ‘blind dates’ between people and books across the city. By following them on their Twitter account you can receive clues on the genre and location of the books they will be sending on ‘dates’, dispatched in locations all over Berlin. If my current reading list wasn’t so long I’d get involved straight away – a date with a book surely can’t be as unfortunate as some of the dates I’ve had in real life.