Artwork by four Manhattan children, Ramfis Matos, Oumar Komara, Annette Bonsa, and Nicholas Spencer, is featured in the 2017 Police Athletic League (PAL) Calendar. PAL summer day campers studied the Indigenous Peoples of the world and explored the history, culture, sports, food, holidays, festivals, customs and languages of each Indigenous People through a fun-filled, interactive learning curriculum. The artwork is featured in the 2017 PAL Calendar, which showcases the work of children from PAL centers across the five boroughs.
Three of the young artists are from PAL’s Harlem Center at 441 Manhattan Avenue. Ramfis, age 10, has a drawing featured for the month of February. His art depicts the Ryukyuan, an indigenous group that inhabits the Ryukyu island of Japan, and make up Japan’s largest minority group with large populations living in Okinawa and in other countries. Oumar, age 12, illustrated the Navajo from the United States, which is featured in the month of August. The Navajo are the second largest federally recognized Native American tribe in the U.S. with over three quarters of the Navajo population residing in Arizona and New Mexico. Annette Bonsa, age 8, whose art is featured for the month of October, depicts the Tuareg of the Sahara. They are a large Berber ethnic confederation that inhabits the vast majority of the Sahara desert, and have been called the “blue people” for the indigo-dye colored clothes they traditionally wear. One student from PAL’s Armory Center, Nicholas Spencer, age 9, located in 216 Fort Washington Avenue had his artwork showcased in PAL’s 2017 calendar as well. His drawing is featured for the month of May and illustrates the Bororo of Brazil. They are an indigenous people originating from the southernmost areas of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. As of 2010, the tribe’s population has approximately 1,570 members and continues to live in villages throughout lower Mato Grosso.
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PAL’s Executive Director, Frederick Watts, said, “I see first-hand the great work our staff does with inner-city kids in need. We offer a safe, nurturing environment where children can grow, play, learn, and be inspired to great success. Their hard work and creativity was instrumental in producing our beautiful calendar.”
New York City’s Police Athletic League is the first and finest civilian-run PAL in the country. Founded in 1914, PAL has served the city’s young people for over 100 years. PAL provides recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to 35,000 boys and girls annually. It is also the city’s largest, independent, nonprofit youth organization. For more information, please visit www.palnyc.org.
Photo credit: 1-3) Harlemites Ramfis Matos, Oumar Komara and Frederick Watts. 4) Nicholas Spencer.