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  • Writer's pictureElaine Ho-Tassone

Photography workshop with Six Nations youth

Students and some of their families attended an after-school workshop on January 20 to learn photography basics.

Ann Alimi (Ann Alimi Photography) presented a one-hour workshop to youth in the Music for the Spirit & Indigenous Arts program (MFTS, for short) in the evening of January 20, 2020. Ann discussed the basics of good photography, as well as the key features and differences of/between street photography, photojournalism and documentary photography. After the workshop, some of the youth shared photos of their artwork and began telling the stories that go with them, while others (and sometimes the parents) described their thoughts and concerns in general. One parent told the story of how his mother used to offer a cup of water - 'medicine' - to heal the body when he was sick as a child. This story demonstrates how the health of the water is reflected by the health of nearby people, since the water was once clean enough to facilitate healing; today, long-term pollution (including upstream sewage) make drinking from the river inadvisable.

Shortly after the workshop, Hannah Wallace (one of the MFTS youth) submitted two photographs to highlight the drinking water issue (lack of access) on reserve. One of her photos, taken with an old film camera, is below. Although the Six Nations reserve has a fairly new water treatment plant on site, there is almost no staff, little training, and no infrastructure to bring that water to reserve residents. Instead, most residents must pay out of pocket to build the pipes (and then repair the roads) to bring water from the plant to their homes, making access to safe and clean drinking water prohibitively expensive - and thus inaccessible - to most on reserve.

The youth's artwork will be displayed at 6-7 sites during a traveling exhibit from March to June, 2020. Keep tuned for more details!

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