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Bringing the community together through painting

Oak Foundation Denmark / Partner story

Photo taken from ‘Sanasa Narsaq 2019’ video

‘Sanasa’ means ‘let’s build something together’ in Greenlandic. This encapsulates house painter and decorator Heidi Zilmer’s goal of bringing together young people in Greenland, and more recently, specifically in Nanortalik, the most southern city in Greenland, and sparking their interest in building and craftsmanship. She does so by combining creative workshops with collective mural painting projects.

Sanasa kicked off in April 2018 with an inspirational street-art creative craft workshop. Its workshops are aimed at young people aged 15 to 30, interested in learning about traditional painting techniques. People of different social backgrounds from all over Greenland have had the opportunity to take part in Sanasa’s workshops, learning everything from basic stencilling, to gilding and colour mixing.

“The young people have really accepted the project and have worked with many different and difficult techniques,” said Heidi, Sanasa’s project leader. “With templates and light/shadow technique, they have painted hundreds of bricks. They are using a trompe-l’oeil technique, which tricks the eye and brings out the details with a 3D effect. Although these are difficult techniques, they are working hard with great commitment.”

Working creatively has helped the participants feel connected to each other, fostering a community spirit while improving their craftsmanship skills. “As a result of the workshop, some of the participants are now taking their new knowledge further by going on to take part in further painting and decorating courses or working with local companies to start their careers,” says Esther Nørregård-Nielsen, director of Oak Foundation Denmark. “The knock-on effects of this project have been numerous as people have started creating together.”

Recently, Sanasa sent us this video showcasing some of its great work in Southern Greenland. It shows not only the murals and paintings achieved by the project, but also how the community has come together to support its achievements.

This grant falls under Oak Foundation Denmark, which hopes to address challenges at the community level. To learn more about how Oak Foundation Denmark seeks innovative solutions that improve the daily lives and future prospects of socially vulnerable and marginalised groups, click here.