A note from Yasamin Safarzadeh, Program Director at Kimball Jenkins:
I want to take a moment to share my continued support and enthusiasm for this youth writing inkubator facilitated by the efforts of Manchester InkLink. This partnership elevates the voices of youth and young adults in our community, regardless of background. These educational opportunities are integral to listening to the voices that are so important and so often overlooked in the state. Please continue to log in and search for us on social for more items! LinkedIn here. Instagram here.
CONCORD, NH – We began to Kimball Jenkins‘s painting about diversity and equality of people. Our unveiling reception was held on August 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. Everyone came! We had dancing, music and food.
More than two of the students below, in their own words.
How did I get to Kimball Jenkins? – by Clemence Masambeta
My cousin and I met Yasamin Safaradeh at the YWCA in Manchester. First we thought she was pretty weird. The more we came to events with Yaz, the nicer I thought she was and that we could spend time together. I looked at her on Instagram and saw she was making art and I love art. I started practicing and practicing until she said one day I met her at Pulaski Park with my siblings and cousins where we got to paint and she introduced us to the Juneteenth show at HopKnot for the month of June.
My painting was an eye, but my painting was not selling. My brother’s painting sold because it was messy. I never painted messy, but I started to think it was smart to be more free in my drawings. One day I got a DM from Yaz who told me she was impressed with my painting skills and there was a job at Kimball Jenkins that was paying. She said the work was about diversity and equality. I was interested in my cousin Judith and so we filled in the file and I met some new friends and we worked together and we finally finished the painting! Yaz is great. She’s the reason I got the job and the reason I started painting.
What do we think of the program and why do we care? –Judith Nsimire
As a band, we really care where people are from or who they are. Everything from your past is important to who you are right now. We care about art. That’s why we painted a mural about diversity, cultures, accents and tribes.
I’m here because I love translating people’s different languages and I’m good with social media and the Google suite. I like to communicate with people and I am very charismatic. It is a great joy for me to use all my skills in this program which my cousin and I are attending.
English is not my first language, that’s why I’m a calm person. When someone asks me a question I get nervous and scared because I know the answer but I can’t say it because I think people will laugh at my broken African English. These fears prevent me from making new friends. I work with My turn now at my school in Central and they help me improve my English. I like the app they have for their phone. That’s very cool.
Because of these fears, I love being with my people because I know I’m safe. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends once I enter Kimball Jenkins. I was nervous and when they asked me questions I couldn’t answer because I was shy and I know people laugh at me because of my English, but I tried my best and I learned the whole alphabet. I am also taking summer courses and my English was starting to improve more and more. I started reading more books and learning science and when I got to sixth grade I was getting all Aces in science and math but social studies and language are hard for me so I got D’s and F’s, but I kept doing my best until I went to seventh grade. I believe in myself. I’m just nervous.
I kept persevering and doing my best and slowly my grades improved. But many obstacles continue to hinder my education. There is only one teacher who speaks Swahili in my school, it is very difficult for us. Even though I’m nervous, because of this internship with KJ (Kimball Jenkins) and Unchartered Art with Amber Nicole Cannan who helped with the internship, I feel ready and excited to make new friends. I know that in the future I will be like them.
I am very happy these days. When my father arrived in this country, he spoke little English. In the Congo there was a war when I was 5 and my little brother was 2. My mother put him on his back and tied a blanket very tightly around him. I sat inside a big yellow bucket. My mother crossed a river – she knew how because my aunt had done it before. The water carried us to my aunt’s house. My father was still in Congo to work. He remained there until the end of the war. We waited four years, until 2017 when there was less war to show our papers to arrive in America.
We were happy when they told us we were going to be in a safe state. When we arrived in America, people picked us up from the airport and took us to the market to bring us food. They cooked for us and slowly we started to heal. We get a lot of food from Amber Nicole and her friends because we had to leave our asbestos apartment and go to a hotel. Now we are back. I hope to work and my cousin too, so that we can earn money to have our own food.
Below: Photo gallery of the Kimball Jenkins team seeing the sites and finding inspiration through art.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of stories who amplify the voices of young artists through a program at Kimball Jenkins in Concord. Student-artists are mentored by program director and Manchester artist, Yazamin Safarzadeh.