Unprecedented in its scale and conception, Walls and Barriers: A Collaborative Youth Project inventively connects young artists from different backgrounds and initiated a conversation on themes of overcoming obstacles. The participants engaged in dialogue with El Anatsui when he visited the student exhibit in Toronto during his retrospective When I last spoke to you about Africa in 2010.
MAMC developed in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum and created Finding Home. Personal Journeys and Visual Narratives, supported by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, MAMC worked with more than 250 students from Greenwood Secondary School and Marc Garneau Collegiate Institutes. Their art-based responses of their idea of Home were exhibited for a month in the Museum’s Education Centre.
Using tools and materials of domesticity to assert and subvert women’s work participants used text and mixed media to create an artist’s book illustrating individual experiences and identities that also tie into larger global and social issues. Each artwork served as a metaphor for the secret lives of women, who may have been deliberately silenced or purposely unheard.
Between the covers, are the intersectional and interdependent issues that comprise these women’s experiences.
Face Up was a remarkable interaction with a group of newly arrived students to Greenwood Secondary School in Toronto. The purpose of this interaction was to creatively integrate the Hungarian Roma students into the wider school population.
Countering disengagement, absenteeism and indifference to formal schooling by offering a project that offered novelty, personal relevance through an interactive, lively social encounter
Istvan, who was weary of sharing his story made a resounding statement of place and self identity
The Winter Exhibition at The Power Plant became the catalyst for MAMC’s newest venture.
In Alicia Henry, Omar Bâ, and Shuvenai Ashoona’s work, three common themes emerged for us:
We saw great potential for a dynamic partnership between The Power Plant, MAMC, Wexford Collegiate School of the Arts and Ursula Franklin Academy, where a conversation between the issues generated in the Winter Exhibit mirrored the social and cultural challenges youth encounter and the discomfort many Canadians feel when told that we are all treaty people.
Teachers Lynda Hattin, (Wexford) and Yolanda Mak Ursula Franklin) facilitated the creative responses shown at the gallery during the month of May. The students visited the gallery and enjoyed seeing their work exhibited alongside the artists from whom they had drawn inspiration.
My Grade 9 art students at Wexford Collegiate School of the Arts were motivated by the height and Verticality of art works in Alicia Henry: Witnessing at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. The concept of layering appealed to them as they used ideas that reflected their inner voice. Mono printing is a very fluid process and the theme of self identity is expressed through colour and texture. The Colours evoke emotion, joy, angst, passion and fear. The contrast of warm and cool colours was intentional as we explored the conflict of innocence and growth (similar to concepts explored in the exhibition Omar Ba's Same Dream). Thee prints express the teens' unique selves, real world realities and hidden struggles.
Lynda B. Hattin
Assistant Curriculum Leader
Visual Media Arts
Wexford Collegiate School of the Arts
Unsettled: An Exploration of Identity In Transition Towards Post-Colonialism is a series of individual cinemagraphs created by the Grade 12 Film and Video students of Ursula Franklin Academy in response to The Power Plant’s 2019 exhibitions of artists Omar Ba: Same Dream, Alicia Henry: Witnessing and Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping Worlds .
The cinema graphs consider notions of witnessing, mapping worlds, dreams, duality, disruption of order and imagery located in a place and time relevant to the artists. Elements such as scale, texture, the land and use of the human figure specifically influenced us, and are mirrored in our work.
The students also explored the intersectionality of our own identities through the lens of Settler/ First Nation and Treaty Partner identities. These are identities for all who live on this land at this time.. They found the process unsettling at times, yet also hopeful. A way forward.
The responses to this endeavour are highly personal. Concepts such as ‘disconnection”, ‘shame”, “anonymity”, and “hope” arose, and were foundations for creating these cinemagraphs.
Viewers are invited into the poetic space these works generate and to locate themselves within the unsettling and hopeful narratives.
Visual and Media Arts Instructor
Ursula Franklin /Academy
Ursula Franklin Academy. Grade 12 Response. Unsettled
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