Well, I see I haven’t blogged in a bit. A lot has happened this fall, and I guess the busyness is a sign of why I haven’t. It’s late November and the snow still hasn’t come to Smithers, so it feels like fall just keeps going and going on. So before it does come and make it true winter, I’ll just compile a bunch of images here from some of the occasions and events in the artistic realm that I have been a part of these past few months.
Let’s see, in September was the start up of school, so in that time there has been a lot of classroom and student-based activities.
I get to talk to students and help guide them in all kinds of aspects of art-making, the artistic life, and philosophy. For whatever seeds I can plant to get them thinking and making, sometimes on my own, sometimes collaborating with wonderful colleagues. Sometimes indoors, sometimes getting them outside…
I also got to follow-up with Mel Bazil and take students on a Solidarity Paddle with “Nyībegh”, the Witsuwit’en War Canoe we helped paint at our school in the Spring (see that post here). It was such an honour to be able to take it onto the water under the gifted guidance of Mel, who instructed us in the techniques of manoeuvering such a massive canoe, and filled us with stories and experiences that day.
There were some important events in our local Indigenous community that my family and I joined in on … a Walk To Witset, to commemorate the release of a book detailing Witsuwit’en-Settler relations in the past 100 or so years, as a form of reconciliation and sharing stories of hardships and understandings and apologies and listening. Also, very tragically, a young Witsuwit’en woman went missing in Smithers and her body was later found, so there were many activism gatherings and tributes related to the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls campaigns.
I also taught a lot of workshops in the fall … to young kids and teens at an annual Fiddle Retreat, to adults through the Smithers Art Gallery to teach about mixed media, printing, photo transfers….
I led a paint night fundraiser for a local woman who has been battling cancer. She’s a farmer, so we painted chickens! We had a fun night raising money for her.
I went to Vancouver to attend the BC Art Teachers Association Conference, to give a presentation on the Honouring Our Elders Portrait Project I help run at SSS. I got to meet an artist I admire too! Brendan Lee Satish Tang! I met some new friends and contacts, and ran into some other old art friends, and was part of some great conversations and presentations. I met up with Tsema Igharas , a friend and artistic collaborator of mine, at the Vancouver Book Art Fair where she led me to a great talk by Skeena Reece & Dana Claxton. It was a wonderful weekend in the big city and lot’s of art!!
Last weekend, I also gave a presentation at a local United Church about Diversity, Inclusion and Allyship as it pertains specifically to LGBTQ+ community. That was positive and terrific and was received very well. The United Church here in Smithers is going through the process of becoming an “Affirming Ministry” meaning they are looking at how to become truly welcoming and accepting, and includes becoming more aware of social justice issues relating to what I just mentioned, plus also racial and poverty and inequality type issues. It is so wonderful to have a Christian voice in these areas interested in such levels of justice.
…Alright, I better stop there, and get ready for the next season, with snow and Christmas and art and all that!!…