Building connection through empathy

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This yearbook brings together twenty creatives and community organisers from all walks of life: musicians, visual artists, dancers, art collectives, and everything in between. From personal to political, their contributions reflect diverse forms of community-building through care. How do they inspire each other? Who do they care for? How do they care? 💘

  • Name: Tanja Mala Ngombe
  • Scenographer / Digital artist / Architecture student
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Age: 22
  • Location: Brussels
  • Instagram: @saffierblauw and @xxargl

What do you care most about, and how is it relevant to your art/practice? It could be a social issue, your community, yourself, or anything! 

The importance of vulnerability. it's something I try to show through my work, as I create spaces through symbolism tied to specific emotions I have gone through.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64c3b8722e68f265c7d8a7b9_DifferentClasswork%203.webp"/>

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Three words that come to mind when you hear the term ‘care’? 

Warmth, preciousness, family

What inspires you to care more for others, or to use your art/practice as a platform to do so? 

Building connection through empathy.

How do you hope to inspire others? 

I live by believing everything happens for a reason. choosing to learn from experiences will guide you to where you'll need to be.

What type of change do you want to inspire in your community/environment? 

More understanding and patience towards ourselves in this fast-paced world.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64c3b872891d0219a3edf7c2_DifferentClasswork%206.webp"/>

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How much influence do you think (y)our backgrounds have on (y)our art and practices? 

A lot. For my practice in particular, or even in my everyday life, I lead with a gut feeling of curiosity about where it takes me. I find beauty in this sense of trust I have in myself.

What are some challenges that you face while doing what you are passionate about? 

Taking up lots of different projects at once out of excitement messes with my sleep schedule a bit.

How do you define ‘community’? 

As a place of acceptance and understanding which creates a sense of belonging.

What is a ‘safe space’ for you? 

An environment that requires intentional efforts to ensure that individuals feel respected, valued, and supported. 

Is receiving care a privilege, a right? 

Both.

Do you think this generation is redefining care and community building? And how? 

I feel like this generation is more vocal about what care means at the moment and what it could or should mean in the future. Being vocal about it is an aspect in the whole of redefining care and community building. But the importance of actually acting on the will to create positive changes within this redefinition is necessary to not fall into performative ways.

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What small acts of care do you hope to see more of? 

Not seeing vulnerability or kindness as weakness.

How do you balance taking care of others and taking care of yourself? Do you make that distinction in the first place? 

I truly think I can only provide great care for another if I provide care and warmth within myself first.

<img class="editorial-image-50-left" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64c3b871ffc3f7099541e900_DifferentClasswork%205.webp"/>

<img class="editorial-image-50-right" src="https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/64c3b872adc7b30380c5b145_DifferentClasswork%204.webp"/>

Do you care about being cared about? 

Care should go both ways. I care about people that want to share mutual care with me in any shape or form.

What do you want to be remembered for?   

¯\_₍⸍⸌̣ʷ̣̫⸍̣⸌₎_/¯

 ʕ •ᴥ•ʔゝ☆

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> Photos by Tanja Mala Ngombe </div></div>

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