With the music on, the material ready, and a flower for inspiration, a group of children started to paint. They're taking part in a project organized by Olga Sinclair, a Panamanian painter who has brought together talented Italian and Panamanian youth.
CARD. GIANFRANCO RAVASI
President, Pontifical Council for Culture
"We are searching for and meeting young people that are open to beauty, to research, with the desire to know what art means in the life of a person and also in everything else. It is significant that they are from Latin America, particularly Panama, a small country that now and always has had a culture with Latin origins.”
Only ten young Panamanians were selected from the more than 8,500 applicants. They are taking a course in how to paint in the style of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani.
"As a teacher I thought, 'Something isn't working in the creative part of children, something in the educational system is failing in our countries. A child's mind must be opened up to new ideas so it can innovate. I said, 'We are going to paint like Modigliani.' And of 8,500 young people in three different provinces who painted, these young people that are here were chosen. And now we are in Rome today.”
The initiative has received support from the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Embassy of Panama. The painting lessons were held at a school in Rome.
"I didn't believe it. After they told me it was true, I started to cry. I would love to be an artist and come to Rome and be a great artist.”
"I am so overwhelmed to be here. They are helping us paint and I can do whatever I like.”
"If I see Pope Francis tomorrow, I don't believe I'll have the words to express everything.”
His dreams would come true, because the group was able to see Pope Francis during his general audience. They greeted him and showed him their work and told him about what the Olga Sinclair Foundation does.
"I definitely realize that the child's mind is universal and they all have a strong point, nature.”
The Olga Sinclair Foundation founded this course for talented young artists from Panama four years ago. They started the program with a simple objective: To help children find the creativity and inspiration they already had within themselves.