Anna Karina Jardin is a Filipina entrepreneur and visual artist championing youth development, children’s rights, social inclusion and capacity building through the arts.
Can you tell us how your projects started? How did your life influence you to start your job as cultural entrepreneur working with children?
Nothing came to me in a silver plate nor asked for anything in return in a gold plate for doing what I am doing; Each project is more like a chapter in my life and being a cultural and creative entrepreneur is my purpose in life.
I started of as a youth volunteer in many organizations and whatever that comes as long as requires creative thinking, I will always take. My attitude chartered my fate in a way and my virtues made me committed to what I am doing. Hence, I always believe in my genetic composition as a Filipino and from there lies my moral fiber.
On my tolerance, being genuine and patience when it comes to children and communities; it was driven by the challenges that struck my family when my youngest sister was diagnosed with a one in a million disease. I treat everyone as precious and never look on their plight rather their potentials.
On compassion and dedicated to what I am doing, it was thru the ugly truths of life.
You run two big projects, could you describe them? Are you alone to manage your activities?
Yes I do and there’s more reason why I opted to integrate the two under one umbrella very recently this year as and ARTDIALOGO merged and became ARTDIALOGO ASIA. I believe in harmonious synergy and giving roles that suites the strengths of my team members. I am never alone in managing activities because like I said, I value creative synergy immensely.
Moreover, Artistikong Kabataan Philippines when translated into English means Artistic Young People of the Philippines. I founded this NGO when I was 19 years old. It started as a group of young men and women helping communities thru art. Together with other artist friends and youth leaders, we were able to create several projects impacting the community which addresses the issue on youth delinquency, inter-faith dialogues thru art, workshops that turned to a yearly gathering called ARTCONGRESS which also hones the leadership skills of creative youngsters from marginalized communities and public schools in the Philippines.
The fact that I am in between two countries, Malaysia and Philippines nurtured one of my milestones which is ARTDIALOGO 2016 which happened thru the help of our PH Ambassador to Malaysia that time, Amb. J. Eduardo Malaya; the National Commission on Culture and Arts; Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Arts Malaysia, PeRUPA Malaysia and my group from the Philippines. It is the first project of its own thru the bilateral agreement of Malaysia and Philippines under Cultural Diplomacy. The design of the program opted to create intercultural dialogue and impact to the society thru arts. It was a success as we also used this platform to inculcate the values of my heritage as a Filipino and break stereotypes about our capacity! To add in, we also ran various workshops in public schools both in Malaysia and philippines involving all participating artists. It is a default already when you work with me, expect to touch bases communities and be sure to carry your happiest smile and your talents to share with them!
For ARTDIALOGO, the inspiration came from my MONDIALOGO- UNESCO Experience in 2006 when my group created a peace calendar with a partner school in Georgia Tbilisi. Imagine that time, there is no internet and airplane tickets are expensive. From this, I think I had an early taste of learning to work together with others regardless the adversities.
How would you describe the impact of your activity on the community, in a country like Philippines?
I believe in responsible advocating and being an example of what you share to others so the impact is REAL AND SKIN DEEP. Through the impact of my activities, were able to motivate more young people and communities to do something more meaningful and use their gifts to make their lives better thru maximizing their potentials. It also fosters a common ground which allows everyone to learn life skills and values. The happiness index would be more appropriate to use as a barometer to measure impact on what I am doing.
Are you active in any networks, organisations or associations for creative entrepreneurs in your region?
Yes I am. This is one of the perks of volunteering here and there, a vast network. I have gone through and been part of many organizations locally and internationally. I do see ones effective membership to any institution based on the ability to contribute and ask not what it can give them.
I keep my associates in the creative field close as there is an infinite number of opportunities to collaborate and impact communities. Regardless the language barriers in the region, I think belonging in different institutions allowed me to work on the strengths of my colleagues and exchange expertise.
The vibrant art scene in the Philippines have taught me humility and integrity. These two virtues will help you deliver your mission and vision regardless. My consistency in sharing the gift of creativity to different communities have moulded me to be more responsible as well.
I believe in right association and integrity. No organization nor position can conceal unrighteous actions reason why at the end of the day one must be actively involved in organizations per as to what she can contribute and ask not what she can get.
As a Creative Tracks Ambassador, what kind of support are you willing to provide to the Creative Tracks members?
I can provide them with technical support in administering, conceptualizing, and implementing ideas and help them with cultural placing in my scope of region. With proper channels and being a conduit in my region, I may also extend opportunities and help create new ones. My line will always be open to Creative Tracks members specially for those who wish to use their creativity in impacting communities. I believe in what Maya Angelou said, “You can never use up creativity, the more you use it, the more you have it.”
By Aurélie Delater, Creative Tacks Manager, INOVA+
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