Unfortunately due to COVID-19 we are unable to have our regular June Art Education and Community Arts Exhibition in our main gallery, which highlights works produced by students from both schools boards and our wider community. Fortunately, we are still able to share the art work virtually through our online exhibition. For the 2020 exhibition, we will highlight two projects: our art educational project ArtEnrich and our community arts project The Exchange.
Art Education Exhibition
In 2019 and in partnership with Body Brave, Centre delivered an arts-based pilot project titled ArtsEnrich within two schools from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.
Students in grades 7 and 8 from Sir William Osler in Dundas and Sir Wilfred Laurier in Hamilton engaged in art-based workshops led by professional artists to explore body positivity. Based on the information received in the Body Brave training sessions and following the revised Ontario Physical Education and Health Curriculum 2018, artists developed lesson plans in stop-motion animation and zine-making, two hands-on, creative activities, to allow for open dialogue on the topic of body image. The goal of the project activities was to educate youth about body positiveness which included disordered eating and self-esteem. Using visual and media arts mediums, artists were able to help students express themselves non-verbally, promoting personal exploration, learning, sharing, and healing.
From a young age, youth are bombarded with advertising, imagery, and societal pressures to look and act a certain way. This barrage aﬀects not only females, as tends to be traditionally thought, but also males and those questioning their identity. With Body Brave’s support artists were able to generate dialogue with young people around the topic of body image and bring awareness to teachers and students that body image and eating disorders are a problem facing Hamilton youth. Our goal was to create a dialogue with students through art-making techniques and to introduce new ways of thinking about our bodies, such as body neutrality, a concept introduced to us by Body Brave.
Body Brave’s mission is to:
“To plan and deliver innovative local and national services that address the major gaps in resources for eating disorders, in collaboration with those with lived experience and our community partners. Body Brave also works to create a bold national recovery-focused, inclusive community, committed to body liberation as well as raising awareness and reducing stigma around disordered eating and eating disorders.”
Sonali Menezes is an interdisciplinary artist based in Hamilton, ON. She holds an Honours BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and is the youngest of triplets. Sonali utilizes performance, video, sculpture, printmaking, poetry and sometimes-exorbitant amounts of Manwich tomato sauce. Her work reflects her resistance to the histories of colonialism and racialization within which she is interwoven.
Annie Webber is an animator and educator living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. Her works come from environments created and developed for free play. Drawn to animation by the magic of movement, Annie believes in the healing power of creativity, especially through collaboration. Her video and animated works are almost always handmade, using a light digital touch to stitch together the magical qualities of symbols, tactile materials, and nostalgic themes – everything is made with love.
Without the support of the Edith H. Turner Foundation this project would not have been made possible. We also want to take this opportunity to thank the team at Body Brave who were also instrumental in making this project successful.
Explorations of Intergenerational Storytelling through Fashion Community Arts Exhibition
The Exchange is a storytelling and textile-focused one-year project from March 2019 to 2020 that promotes intergenerational sharing between older adults and youth members of Indigenous and Newcomer communities in Hamilton. The project uses the arts to empower and inspire the ageing communities to share their knowledge and life stories with youth.
Participants collaborated with artists to create visual pieces that explore their knowledge and experiences of migration, oppression, resilience, community, and tradition, and how it affects them personally. The project included four rounds of workshops each with different facilitators and participants. Workshops were based in storytelling, linocut (a printmaking technique), and textiles/sewing. Both facilitators and participants were individuals from Racialized, Indigenous and Newcomer communities. The first part of this project involved two groups: a group of Indigenous peoples who met for weekly sewing classes at the Aboriginal Health Centre, De dwa da dehs nye>s, and a group of new immigrants from majority East African countries, who met weekly at the Wesley EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Though different in structure, individuals in both groups created articles of clothing, from Regalia to Caftans, some using printmaking techniques such as linocut, that reflected their stories.
The wearable art produced from The Exchange was part of Supercrawl 2019 Fashion Pop-Up Show on Saturday September 13th. The community participants presented their work on the runway, promoting intergenerational and cultural sharing and learning. The goal of The Exchange was to support the social participation and inclusion of older adults in the community utilizing the arts as an active engagement tool.
Footage from Hamilton's Supercrawl 2019, featuring fashion shows by two groups participating in The Exchange: Women and Men Sewing Traditional Clothing, and Victoria Park Women.
Danielle Boissoneau is Anishnaabekwe from the shorelines of the Great Lakes. She is a writer, a seedkeeper and a community organizer that works towards embodying the values of her ancestors in real time. As a facilitator and consultant, Danielle teaches about the practice of decolonization and provides skills and tools for people to use when doing this important work. Danielle’s most important work is being a mother.
Suad Badri came to Canada as a refugee from Sudan in 2014. She holds a PhD in Geography of Energy, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. As a newcomer to Canada, Suad is passionate about community development, and strives to empower immigrant and refugee women across the Hamilton community. In her role as a community advocate, Suad has helped to establish the Victoria Park Women’s group and worked with the SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre) facilitating the Sewing Circle. Suad is also the founder of e_ESL Culturally Based Project, which is an app-based project currently in development that extracts English-language from textbooks from other cultures.
Wilamina McGrimmond is a member of the Tla’azt’en Nation, and has resided in Hamilton for the past 34 years. She is a long-time teacher and community activist for Indigenous rights, including advocating for the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Wilamina is the organizer and drum teacher in Spirit Bear Drummers, an Indigenous women’s drumming and singing group that performs in and around the Hamilton area, including annual Labour Day parades and Women’s Day celebrations. She has also been leading an Indigenous drum-making workshop at the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology for the past twelve years. She has been teaching sewing to women’s groups, including immigrant women, in the city for years, and is currently a sewing teacher at the De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre in Hamilton.iewed by the native community about my childhood growing up in Northern British Columbia.
Michelle Thomas is a Seneca Bear Clan woman from Six Nations of the Grand River. She is passionate about creating opportunities for people to decolonize their minds. Michelle strives to create culturally appropriate training & facilitation by incorporating Haudenosaunee values into her work. This creates opportunities for education and positive dialogue. It is only through reclaiming your power, voice and purpose that you can make true change. This includes work within organizations, staff, and individuals. Personal and professional development includes the use of team-building, facilitation and interactive experiences, she creates opportunities for meaningful engagement within your circle. She carries a diverse background of education, sociology, business and healing & wellness. She has worked within the education, social, health, family violence prevention, addictions, and employment & training sectors. (michellethomas.ca)
Michelle’s unique combination of facilitation skills and training in healing and wellness allows her to be an asset to your organization’s retreat or self-care program. Michelle is a certified Reiki Master, spirit painter and traditional healer. A workshop or training can be provided, as well as individual healing sessions. Michelle can be contacted at (226) 934-3881 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Marie Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia, grew up in Stoney Creek and Hamilton Ontario and is now back home living on Six Nations preparing to launch the press Ojistah Publishing. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry, recorded poetry with music and script writing. Janet is a radio broadcaster, documentary producer and sound artist. Her literary titles include; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011 and “Peace in Duress” Talonbooks 2014, Totem Poles and Railroad, ARP Books 2016, As Long As The Sun Shines 2018 with a Mohawk language edition of that title to be released in July 2019, Bookland Press. As Long As the Sun Shines also has an audio companion on Reverbnation. Her poetry CDs Firewater 2009, Got Your Back 2012 and 6 Directions 2013 all received nominations for Best Spoken Word Recording at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and the Native American Music Awards. Janet produced and hosted Native Waves Radio on CFUVfm for 10 years and CBC Victoria radio one music column Tribal Clefs for 8 years. Her radio documentaries “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011 and 2013. Her six-part radio documentary NDNs on the Airwaves won two T.O. Webfest Awards 2017. Janet Rogers and Ahkwesase Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs make up the poetry collective Ikkwenyes which produced the poetry CD Got Your Back and won the Loft Literary Fellowship prize 2014. 2Ro Media is the media collective lead by Janet Rogers and Mohawk media artist Jackson Twobears . They produced NDNs on the Airwaves a short documentary on CKRZ fm Six Nations radio and Moving Voice a short doc with Telus StoryHIVE .(https://www.facebook.com/poetlaureatevictoria/)
Laura Reid Kooji is Anishinaabe, Ojibway from Nipissing First Nation, living in Hamilton, ON. Laura’s first book “No Rainbow” was published in October 2018 by Bayeux Arts They have media published articles about cultural appropriation and identity in print and online. Laura was the co-founder and editor of Bent Q Media, an online resource run by and for members of Hamilton Ontario’s LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit communities. In addition to writing, Laura is a beadwork artist, community educator/activist and musician. Laura is passionate about Indigenous language revitalization and studies Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway) and Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) languages.
Centre acknowledges the support of the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) Community-Based Program under Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), making The Exchange possible.