“Then there is the Cosmogolem project, which focuses on children’s rights," says Koen Vanmechelen. "We go to developing countries and show children that they can express themselves through poetry, stories, dance and visual arts. We teach them a language so that others will listen to them. This is very important. I have gone to 33 countries already; this project inspires so much hope.”
The Golem is a large wooden structure of about 4 meters high. It is a symbolic helper and savior for all the children in the world. He brings relief to children in need. Although he is always silent, this giant statue makes children talk. The Cosmogolem gives children an identity and a voice. Through a hatch in the wooden giant, the children can deposit their dreams, hopes and desires. It is an entrypoint to the world. The CosmoGolem is always on the move, from India to Nicaragua, from Tanzania to Belgium; he brings cultures together. Just like the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project.
The Cosmogolem never stops looking for places where he can arrive and bring hope to children in need. To date, Cosmogolems have been erected in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Belgium, India, Holland and Chili. The youth music organization ‘Up With People’ has taken the Cosmogolem on a world tour. Many other Golems are on their way, e.g. in Malawi and Flores. The Golem is always made with the help of children, under the supervision of the artist. Sometimes it is sent from one country to another, sometimes it is made in situ.
The Golem image used refers to the legend of the ‘Homunculus’ from 16th century Prague. It was made in clay by Rabbi Jehudau Löw to protect the Jews living in the ghetto. It came to life by putting a sheet of paper between its teeth. Koen recalls: “I made a big wooden geometric sculpture when I was 18. Looking at it in my studio, I thought it looked like a Golem, a giant. Later, I learned that the Golem stands for big evolutions.”
The original word Golem means embryo or formless substance. The Golem can therefore be formed; it can grow and develop, just like an embryo. The NGO CosmoGolem coordinates this project and has two honorary members: human rights activist and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Jeanne Devos (Mumbai, India), who adopted the project-in-process in 2016, and child and adolescent psychiatrist Peter Adriaenssens (Catholic University of Leuven).
VISIT WWW.COSMOGOLEM.COM for more information and current projects