People deal with traumatic experiences in very different ways. For many, getting brutally stabbed on a bus would be more than enough to scare them away and ruin their faith in humanity forever. For Timba Smits, however, it provided something else entirely: inspiration to make a difference.
Melbourne-born Smits was stabbed in late 2011 after coming to the aid of elderly passengers being harassed on a local London bus. He suffered a fractured jaw, serious concussion and internal injuries as a result of several knife wounds, and spent seven weeks in recovery following the brutal attack.
After almost losing his life in the incident Smits began to question whether or not he was making enough of an impact on the world, sparking a chain of events that would ultimately lead to his recent foundation of both the Kaleidoscope International Creative Festival and community-orientated The Cut-It-Out Project.
The Kaleidoscope Festival is a two-day conference which will be held at London’s renowned Barbican Centre on 27 and 28 November. It forms the centrepiece of a week-long celebration of creativity – designed by Smits and his partners – to provide inspiration and support for aspiring artists. Guest speakers such as graphic designer Danny Yount are scheduled to deliver keynote speeches.
“We believe that the power of creativity and positive influence can change the world, creating a brighter future for aspirational young people,” Smits wrote on his website. “Through Kaleidoscope we aim to make an impact on the world and inspire other people to do great things.”
Aside from inspiring artists through the Kaleidoscope Festival, Smits has also taken a hands-on approach to tackling the issue of youth disengagement through The Cut-It-Out Project. This program works closely with London schools and councils to mentor young people and assist them in making positive choices through the medium of creativity.
Smits’ crusade to inspire the world has taken a significant personal – and financial – toll on the Kaleidoscope founder, with the majority of his life savings drained by the cost of rehabilitation after the stabbing, and the remainder committed to getting his community projects up and running. Both The Kaleidoscope Festival and The Cut-It-Out Project rely on funding through donations, and Smits estimates that $100 000 will be necessary to facilitate the November conference.
Smits is always on the look out for more help, and supporters of the Kaleidoscope Festival are invited to donate to the Kaleidoscope International Creativity Festival and The Cut-It-Out Project, in increments ranging from $10 to $10 000, through his website. The $10 000 ‘Become a Believer’ package includes incentives, such as a personal lecture delivered by Smits and the Kaleidoscope group at a school or business. “Kaleidoscope London will be the first of many future festivals, so the more that we raise now the bigger and further we can grow, and inspire many people along the way,” Smits says.
More information on Timba Smits and his community projects can be found at www.kaleidoscopefestivals.com while donations to the Kaleidoscope International Creativity Festival can be made through www.indiegogo.com/kaleidoscope-festival