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Reviewed by Justine Reyes for Readers' Favorite
Kiboko Projects is an umbrella for several cultural exchange projects that spans the three continents of Africa, Russia, and North America. Since 1999, the organization has developed and expanded its program with Mark Scheflen as the Artistic Director and Jill Raufman as Executive Director. The Kiboko Projects provides children, teens, and adults from many different communities and backgrounds a cultural exchange of art and education. By simply creating visual art and telling their stories, the participants in these projects have been able to help one another see the differences in their respective cultures while also accepting and embracing those differences. Within the pages of the Kiboko Projects, readers will find photos of beautifully painted masks with anecdotal stories and poems attached to them, as well as photographs and other art made by past participants of the Kiboko Projects.
Kiboko Projects by Mark Scheflen and Jill Raufman showed me the ever-growing importance of art, education, and communication in our modern-day society. There are still people willing and wanting more than anything for the world to heal and develop into something much better than what it is now. It all starts with empathy. One particular mask stood out to me. It was a mask created by Maureen W. from Moi Forces Academy in Kenya in 2003. It depicts a split society, one half embracing change while the other denying it. Amid the two halves is a sliver of orange. The orange represents people trying to make progress, but they aren't quite there yet. This piece resonates with me even now (nearly) two decades later. Kiboko Projects is a must-read and an eye-opener.