Every Sunday, for the duration of the traveling community art exhibition Reconciliation: What does it mean to you? – from August 13 to December 2, 2017 – to honour the complexity of the task, I will publish a post about my process of decolonization.
This is a preview of the piece that I will show as part of the exhibit ”RECONCILIATION” – What does it mean to you? A traveling community art exhibition, opening Sunday August 13th, 2017 at La Ruche d’Art St-Henri.
The full piece is a reflection on the process that I have gone through attending a series of 5 Community Listening Circle this summer on Unsettling the Settler Within, organized by the Art Hives Network, the last one being on August 13th.
The Art Hives Network recognizes that we carry out our work on unceded indigenous territories across Canada. As our country commemorates the 150th anniversary of its Confederation, the Art Hives Network acknowledges the struggle of native peoples caused by colonization and believe that settlers have a responsibility to understand this shared history and how we may be continuing and perpetuating colonialism in our personal and professional lives. Our hope is that storytelling, and art making and sharing will help ignite the necessary conversations to support our work together towards repair and reconciliation.
Among the shape-shifting moments of this Community Listening Circle, there was the Blanket Exercise, lead by the amazing Indigenous artist Nina Segalowitz, “an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in the participatory workshop. Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance.”
There were also different other events/actions that have feed my reflection during this period :
- the co-authoring, with other Art Hives’ members, of a support letter (in French only) in favor of the relocation of The Open Door, a drop-in centre providing services to homeless and low-income people in downtown Montreal, since “losing the shelter could deal a considerable blow to the hundreds of Montreal Inuit who live in poverty” – city’s indigenous leaders.
- the exhibit Walking With Our Sisters Kahnawà:ke, “a commemorative art installation of 1800+ moccasins vamps (tops) created & donated by hundreds of caring & concerned individuals to draw attention to this injustice.”
- the creation of hearts with my granddaughter at La Ruche d’Art St-Henri, as part of Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams, which have invited “individuals and organizations to join in reconciliation by planting heart gardens in their communities. Heart gardens honour residential school survivors and their families, as well as the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Each heart represents the memory of a child lost to the residential school system, and the act of planting represents that individual’s commitment to finding their place in reconciliation.”
And many others inspirations through lectures and music :
- “I wait to finally be considered”: Intersectionality and Visual Sovereignty as Resistance in the Work of Thirza Cuthand by Lisa Alders
- Unsettling Stories : Theorizing Representational Violence and Practising Dignity, by Andrea Merriam Donovan
The exhibition ”RECONCILIATION” – What does it mean to you? A traveling community art exhibition will originate in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) and then travel to different Art Hives located in indigenous and settler communities across the country:
Montreal, QC / La Ruche d’Art St-Henri: August 13 to 26 (VERNISSAGE, Sunday August 13, 3-5pm)
Belleville, ON / NEXTDOOR Community Art Studio: August 27 to September 10
Oshawa, ON / The Livingroom Community Art Studio: September 11 to September 25
Winnipeg, MB / WHEAT Institute – Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute : September 27 to October 8
Vancouver, BC / Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) Conference and Another Space: October 10 to 25.
Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, NL / Kakatshu Utshishtun Art Hive: November 1-15
Cree Nation of Eastmain, QC / Eastmain Art Hive, QC: November 19-Dec 2