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  • Writer's pictureElaine Ho-Tassone

Exhibit prep at art camp

Music for the Spirit & Indigenous Art hosted a full-day art camp to help the youth finish conceptualizing their contributions, work on their creations and in some cases, complete them.

Music for the Spirit & Indigenous Arts
Majority of the group that joined us for the full-day art camp

The youth were invited to participate in artistic creations between 10am and 4pm on February 15, 2020 for three purposes:

  1. Creation of magazine collages that bring attention to freshwater or marine issues for a local news project;

  2. Creation of two collaborative painted paddles, one of which raises awareness for the missing and murdered women of Canada (we will discuss this topic in more detail in an upcoming post); and

  3. Conceptualizing, painting and - in some cases - completing some of their contributions to the Grand Expressions traveling art exhibit (dates and locations at bottom).

The youth, aged 12-26, enjoyed a laid-back day of fun, creativity and friendship. Older youth mentored younger ones, helping them to express their thoughts and conceptualize what they'd like to paint. We began finalizing how many pieces each young person will submit to the exhibit, their titles, media and sizes. Some of the youth discussed their depicted story or message with the others.

After discussing the exhibit schedule (below) and having lunch, we took a break from painting, sketching and making collages to hold a small photo shoot. We set up some of the exhibit signage together with horn rattles, a water drum and two wampum (beaded) belts: one representing the Two Row treaty, and one representing the Dish With One Spoon - described in one of our signs, as follows:

In addition to this art camp, the youth will have the opportunity to participate in a rare workshop led by Ken Maracle, a Cayuga faith keeper, in the last week of March. In this workshop, youth will create mini Dish With One Spoon wampum belts and horn rattles. Some of the youth will also join water managers for a full-day management meeting at the Centre for International Governance Innovation on April 20, 2020. The youths' exhibit will be held at this invitation-only event so that water managers across government levels will have the chance to learn from the perspectives the youth will share.

A few photographs from the art camp are below. The schedule for the first three months (first four locations) is below the photo album and can be found on our exhibit calendar page.

A side note: the historical treaties discussed in our signage and represented by the two belts we photographed were typically treaties among authorized men. As explained in the Shared Spaces? sign, these treaties were not fulfilled. Partnerships formed between the Grand-Erie Study and Music for the Spirit & Indigenous Arts (and, in 2019, with Great Art for Great Lakes) are not exclusive to men who are leaders of their communities, but are collaborations that cross genders and generations. It is our hope that partnerships like these acknowledge our collective history, even if symbolically, and may pave the path for a future in which all parties/cultures are respected and valued equally. Our collaboration demonstrates the idea that tomorrow's leaders should be engaged and empowered today.

Public exhibit schedule, March-May (more to follow):

1. The Carolinian Cafe (Cayuga St, Cayuga): March 2-14, free parking and access

2. Cambridge Center for the Arts (60 Dickson St, Cambridge): March 24-April 3

a) Public reception March 24, 6-8pm, free parking (2hr) and access (details to follow)

3. Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (at St. Paul's University College, 190 Westmount Rd N, Waterloo): April 6-20, paid parking, free access 4. THEMUSEUM (10 King St W, Kitchener): April 28-May 25, paid parking and access

Visit the exhibit calendar here.

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