Umbala!

Submitted by Misfits Unified

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Client: TierraMitica

Location: Tarapoto, Peru

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $350,000

Project Team

Project Manager

Simon Kingsley

Misfits Unified

Collective Art facilitator

Mikis Hasson

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Adam Roberson

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Lies Demets

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Mathilde Kingsley

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Andrew Scott

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Reuben French

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Niloufar Lohrasebi

Misfits Unified

Team Leader

Leanne Smith

Misfits Unified

Overview

Umbala!, meaning colors in Zulu, is a multifaceted concept. It’s a handmade, fully sculpted adventure playground that is playable as a board game thus allowing it to be enjoyed by all generations from toddlers to grandparents. Umbala! is designed to be a game of chance of and skill, to be educational and to act as a public collective art gallery as well as a giant public sculpture. After a basic construction stage, members of the public are invited to participate in the sculpting and painting in a collective art festival. Umbala! can be adapted to a variety of themes.

Goals

We have created Umbala! to develop our concept of interactive playgrounds, playable just like a board game, a fun game of twists and turns. Bringing people together is the primary goal of Umbala! and the goal is achieved as follows:
1. Bringing members of the family together in a common activity, instead of adults sitting on benches watching kids play, they can participate spending time together outdoors
2. Umbala! can be in a neighborhood, a plaza or any kind of campus, and can be used as a normal playground or as a game for individuals or groups with neighbors and colleagues.
3. By facilitating a community-based public art festival, to attend, learn and participate. We have specific methods to engage with and teach people on the spot sculpting and painting and how to find things that we can agree with and have a common vision.
4. By encouraging people of all ages to rediscover the art within them with simple instruction and by remembering the flow and fascination of art from their childhood.
5. The result is a beautiful public sculpture where the whole community can feel both personal and collective pride at its creation.

Process

There are two collaboration phases to the creation of Umbala!
The first phase involves working with the core group to agree on the location, size, scope, theme and game play for the overall project which determined the main infrastructure to be created. During this phase the Misfits Unified team worked with the commissioning entity, to agree on the concept and the aesthetics of the overall structure which becomes the clean canvass for the second phase.
Once the main infrastructure (floors, tunnels, game features) are created, the second collaboration phase commences, envisioning and creating the sculpted scenes and environments to bring the game to life. This phase is undertaken in the context of a free public sculpting and painting festival open for public participation. At the beginning of the festival, and at necessary stages throughout, all participants are invited to express their ideas for how the scenes could be decorated and all ideas are incorporated into a vision to be executed during the festival. The core Misfits Unified team forms teams with the participants, offering instruction and mentoring.
Please watch the enclosed documentary video which will help you feel both the concept and the energy of the collective art festival.