….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
What is From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation (FBMF) and what does the Midnight bus do?
FBMF believes that boys in trouble deserve a chance to turn their lives around before it becomes too late. It helps teachers deal with disruptive pupils to prevent exclusions. But for those who are excluded from school, it offers an alternative to dropping out of the system and hanging out on the streets. Boys are referred to FBMF by local education authorities, special needs departments, youth-offending teams and social services departments. FBMF helps them to get back on track through its day-programme of education and self-development. FBMF has been lauded by public figures, from Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair to Labour peer Lord Hattersley, its directors have taken part in youth criminal consultations, and it won a Music of Black Origin (Mobo) award for its work in providing positive role models to young black men, parents having been clamouring to get their children on to the scheme.
“Behind their tough street image, disaffected boys like these suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. All too often they do not have positive role models or stable adults in their lives to guide them through the transition from boyhood to manhood. Excluded from school, free falling through the criminal justice system, they are on course for short and violent lives.” Decima Francis (MBE)
How did this come about?
Cecilia: I wished I had clever reasons for how this came about. The whole thing was pretty much decided after the Red Gallery Art Party in 2012 when Decima came to the big opening party! I wasn’t sure who I was going to do the bus with as I knew I would have to learn how a 3D art the size of a bus works. I talked to the guys at Team Robbo. We bounced a few ideas around but a lot of things were happening to them at the time and it was not aligning. A lot of things were happening for me, for Decima at FBMF, and probably for the world. At first I had a chat with Prime, Doze and PJ about it. Robert tried to do a rough photoshop.They were all getting ready to do the Google head-office pop-up art exhibition and that became what I talked with them about at that office space. We had some laughs but no serious theme emerged. Choci pointed out Kel1st was captain of his graffiti “love train”. I laughed. But I was too exhausted after trying to meet the deadline for my Cairo Christmas show at El Hanager, the Opera house inside the National Culture Centre of Egypt. I talked with Decima about her work. The year FBMF won the BeMOBO award at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards was the same year that Amy Winehouse won best female artist . I actually didn’t really notice that. Though in hindsight, I was wondering why people kept talking about Amy Winehouse’s death (which happened late 2011) to me when they found out I might be doing some stuff with FBMF in the future! I am slow that way.Lol.
I was more interested in Decima’s brilliant Tirade against Misogynistic Lyrics in the Music scene especially written by some men-children in the Hip Hop scene!
When she said,”How dare you….call me…..Bitch! ….If you can’t find the words, BUY A DICTIONARY!” I thought it was Iconic! I loved it so much, I agreed to do whatever she wants me to try to do!
But I readily admitted to everyone that I don’t always know what I am doing and it might take us a few years to get to the right “mental creative space” to start the project! I was already booked for 2 yrs projects-wise, so that took us to 2014 and with my arm injury, it was not until 2015 that we got back on the “midnight bus” track again. It was going to be a journey towards creative artistic maturity, for sure!
Time passed a little, in late 2012 or early 2013, I forgot I left a message for Kel1st randomly months ago and he found the message 5 months later and we started chatting…so eventually I asked him if he wanted to do the midnight bus since he knows how to do art on big trains.
But typical me, I asked him bluntly,”Are you sure you are bullet proof?” ( re: being able to do buses like transforming trains to modern art installations)
He laughed a lot and said (to his credit), ” No doubt. hahaha.”
So I decided it was best to let the Divine Art Force take care of the details and let it happen in its own way! 🙂
Kel1st (about his early new york city street life and our art project):
Sometimes in the moment, our reasons for doing things are rushed! Sometimes someone else need to justify their roles (in the scene) and by that person adding to the process, that is what produces an “unadulterated” experience that we (as artists) will always feel may not be the best representation of ourselves or vision.
***But it might capture things that society don’t always want to see. In fact it gives insight to another layer of our subconscious mind we tend to overlook.
In graffiti I would try to “plan” as much as possible only to realize the nuances of reality seem to be a driving force in the end. I would lose a cap I need or a color refuses to work or worse the police showed up!
All this causing the final art work to be less than what was intended. But the experience or takeaway is approaching things with a refined understanding for life.
How much can we control? Really? There are always forces opposing the perfect plan or intended outcome. I have learned to shoot for outer space and grab as many clouds as I can as I land among the sky and stars.
There is always a spirit that superseded the final outcome, it shows the life and energy of what is present and none of us know what will arrive on the next train (as in life). Step Lively!
Invitation Letter from Decima Francis (MBE), From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation (FBMF), London.
Dear Cecilia and Randy
Invitation to create a Fine Art Project with the “Midnight Bus” owned by The From Boyhood to Manhood (FB2M) Foundation
As artists forming the creative fusion art entity “Kel1st and Yu”, based on your records of professional creative acumen and lifestyle embodiment of the values that are the key ingredients of FB2M’s track record of social reform and educational success in South London, you are cordially invited to lead our teams of youths and their teachers in creating a Fine Art Project using the “Midnight Bus” as a Medium of Creative Development.
There is no restriction on the scope or scale of this fine art project except for compliance to UK Health& Safety regulations and Ofsted Regulations. With this invitation, I enclose a copy of the independent Ofsted School Inspection Report 2011, carried out under section 162a of the Education Act 2002 to advise the Secretary of State for Education, Britain.
As a request from FB2M foundation, we would like to suggest the following possibilities because it will be beneficial to the core philanthropic mission of our Foundation:
1) That Kel1st and Yu be willing to lead small workshops training our team to assist in the execution of the bus project. This can be in special art camps or on-site at a mutually agreed time.
2) That Cecilia utilise her knowledge of Far Eastern Calligraphy Art tradition and use that to enhance our core mission of Character development of our students, in order to promote self-confidence through positive activities and the development of a peaceful inner life.
3) That Randy utilise his status as Graffiti Style Master in the worldwide graffiti scene to advocate the importance of “supporting youths” in deprived communities to express their own dreams and access the opportunities to live that dream away from negative peer, in order to benefit disaffected and excluded young people and their families. This would include a willingness to mentor in face to face graffiti art based activities in the course of creating the fine art project with the Midnight bus.
4) That Kel1st and Yu as an art entity will support the works of inspiring our Steering groups, which are peer mentors of young people who has a common purpose, which is to help other young people achieve their dreams and provide positive role models and excellent youth projects.
In turn, if Kel1st and Yu accepts our invitation, FB2M will utilise our resources to fundraise and contribute to help realise the creative vision that will transform the “Midnight Bus” into a Fine Art Project that is suitable for International Calibre Art and Cultural exhibition. FB2M will respect the artistic integrity of the artists involved. Details of the agreement will be worked out as the project evolves, once Kel1st and Yu accepts our invitation.
Decima Francis (MBE)
From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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